Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Yankees injury news good for Jeter, bad for ARod

So Derek Jeter isn’t fat as the New York Post would have us believe, while Alex Rodriguez was more seriously hurt than any of us knew.

I must admit to finding the Post picture and headline absolutely hilarious and I’m glad the New York Yankees captain has a sense of humor about it too. Let’s face it: if Derek Jeter is out of shape, there is no hope for the rest of us. But Jeter, media savvy guy that he is, could have pulled a Charles Barkley and parlayed that photo into a Weight Watchers endorsement deal if the rumors of his overweight state had not been quickly dispelled by his pal Harold Reynolds on Twitter. I’m kind of disappointed by the quick debunking because I felt like Jeter and I had something in common as I myself have put on a few pounds since my back injury. So I guess this confirms that I have absolutely nothing in common with the Yankee captain, except our mutual love for the Bronx Bombers.

Besides laughing off the fun the Post editors had at his expense, Jeter came out of his offseason seclusion to proclaim that he will be ready for Opening Day 2013. Now when it comes to injuries, we have to take Jeter’s comments with a grain of salt because the captain, seemingly impervious to pain, always says he will play despite whatever injury he is contending with. But Jeter reported that his ankle is healing as expected and he only has a few more weeks to go in his walking boot. If so, that gives him enough time for the intensive rehab that will be needed to ensure that the ankle is in tip-top shape. And knowing Jeter’s discipline and work ethic, I have no doubt he will do whatever it takes to get ready for baseball.

The news was not as good for Alex Rodriguez. He will be out until at least June because of a needed surgery on his left hip, disturbing news considering he has already endured major pain and lost time due to his surgically-repaired right hip. His absence will force the Yankees to find a substitute for the first three months of the season at third base and in the middle of the Yankees lineup.

But I reject the argument that people criticizing ARod for his poor performance in the 2012 playoffs somehow now owe him an apology. We can only make decisions or judgments on performance based on the information at hand and news about this injury did not surface until more than a month after the postseason ended. And ARod is going to have to deal with the fresh round of speculation that his use of steroids has led to his deteriorating physical condition.  But given the chokehold ARod’s contract has on the Yankees payroll, the Yankees have to do everything they can to get him healthy and back on the field, even if he never reclaims his status as baseball’s best player.

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