Jeter returns, exits with tight quad

Updated: 2013-07-13 08:28

By Associated Press in New York (China Daily)

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 Jeter returns, exits with tight quad

Derek Jeter smiles before facing the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium in New York on Thursday. In his first game back from a long injury layoff, Jeter strained a quad muscle. Ray Stubblebine / Reuters

Derek Jeter's return from a nine-month injury layoff did not quite go as planned on Thursday as the New York Yankees captain strained a thigh muscle and was taken out of the game.

Jeter singled on his first pitch of the season, then felt his right quadriceps tighten. He was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of New York's 8-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Jeter scored a run and went one for four with an RBI groundout as the designated hitter in his return from a broken ankle sustained in last October's American League Championship Series opener.

After icing the leg on Thursday, the 39-year-old was headed to a hospital for a scan.

In a season thus far memorable for sidelined stars rather than sustained success, the Yankees anxiously awaited the test results.

"It's not frustrating, yet. We'll see. They MRI everything around here," Jeter said. "I hope it's not a big deal."

Known for trying to ignore most injuries, Jeter vowed not to this time.

"I can't trick the tests," he said, before adding: "I always play."

He played through September and into October last year with what was called a bone bruise. The left ankle finally gave out.

"I don't think it broke because I was 38; I think it broke because I continued to play on something that maybe I shouldn't have," Jeter said.

The possible setback is not what the Yankees were hoping for in a season also hampered by significant injuries to first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Alex Rodriguez, outfielder Curtis Granderson and catcher Francisco Cervelli.

"It's kind of what we went through this year," manager Joe Girardi said. "So hopefully it's nothing ... just some leg tightness and he'll be ready to go."

New York cut short the shortstop's comeback via the minor leagues after just four games following injuries on Wednesday to Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner.

Jeter found out about 11 pm on Wednesday in Scranton, Pennsylvania, got back to New York in the wee hours but only got a couple of hours sleep and was up at dawn.

"Couldn't fall back asleep," he said. "I was nervous going into the game. It's almost like it's opening day for me, even though we're in - what are we in, July now? I lost track of the months."

Jeter initially planned to return by opening day, but re-fractured the ankle in April and missed the first 91 games of the season.

Puig comes up short

So much for Puig-mania. Give this contest to Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Freeman and Toronto Blue Jays reliever Steve Delabar won the fan voting for the final spots in next week's All-Star game, meaning Los Angeles Dodgers sensation Yasiel Puig is likely headed for a few days off after a terrific stretch to begin his major league career.

Freeman set a record with 19.7 million votes, and Puig was second. Major League Baseball didn't release the vote total for Puig, but said the Cuban defector also surpassed the previous record for the final vote of 15.6 million for Shane Victorino in 2009.

"It's unbelievable," Freeman said.

"I'm kind of speechless. I wouldn't be here without the fans. It's incredible and it's just a dream come true."

Puig won't get to play in the July 16 game at Citi Field in New York unless he is added as an injury replacement.

(China Daily 07/13/2013 page15)