Jeter's injury may linger for rest of year

A hobbled Derek Jeter is in the Yankees' lineup for their critical Friday night game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Due to his left ankle injury, Jeter will DH and hit leadoff instead of playing shortstop.

Manager Joe Girardi said that Jeter's ankle injury is something that will likely affect him for the rest of the season.

When asked if Jeter's injury is a chronic ailment, the manager said, "I've not heard the doctors say that, but in my mind that's something that I believe. Could it get better as time goes on? Sure.

"But a lot of it probably depends on how he lands on it or if he lunges. It could take a while."

Jeter left the Yankees' 5-4 win on Wednesday night against the Boston Red Sox in the top of the eighth inning after re-injuring the ankle, which he originally rolled last week in Tampa.

But Jeter, who rarely leaves a game on his own will, and almost never admits to an injury, insisted again on Friday that he was fine.

And, in typical fashion, the 38-year-old offered little other insight on the injury, other than to say he thought he could play shortstop if needed.

"You either play or you don't. I'm playing so it's not an issue to talk about or discuss," he said. "I've always been that way; I'm not going to change. You either play or you don't, that's the way I've looked at it."

Jeter played and played well in the Yanks' win over Boston on Thursday. His RBI single in the seventh gave the Yankees' a 2-0 cushion in a game they'd go on to win by the same score.

Jeter, who leads the AL in hits and is batting .323, also tied Willie Mays for 10th on the all-time hits list.

Girardi said, from here on out, he'll check with Jeter on a daily basis to determine his availability.

The manager admitted if the Yanks had a 10-game lead in the division instead of being tied for first with Baltimore, he may have opted to give Jeter a few days off.

But, he noted, that extra time off may not help in this case. If Jeter lunges and hits the bag the wrong way or lands on his left foot awkwardly, it could re-aggravate the injury.

"I don't think there's really any guarantees where you're going to be if you give him three days off," Girardi said.