Pregame notes against Blue Jays

04/25/2013 7:47 PM ET
By Joe Auriemma

Derek Jeter spent time with his teammates for the first time since Spring Training.(AP)
It's always a zoo in the Bronx when the Yankees come back to town after being on the road, but the scene at Yankee Stadium before the game against the Blue Jays on Thursday was been downright hectic. It's not because of the game, but because the Captain, Derek Jeter, is in the building and with all of his teammates for the first time since Spring Training.

Before the Yankees went on the road, Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman, announced to the media that Derek Jeter had re-injured his previously fractured ankle and would not be returning until after the All-Star game. Even though it would not require surgery, the healing process for this second injury would be a long one.

Little was said about the acutal game before the game in the circus-like atmosphere as Cashman once again addressed the media to discuss the health of the Yankees' shortstop.

"Haven't spoken to him since last week when we talked after his doctor visit, but his mood is spectacular," Cashman said. "I've never seen Derek Jeter down, even when he came off that field in the playoffs and knew he wasn't going to play, you never see him down. I'm sure he has those moments and those type days, but he doesn't show it publically."

Joe Girardi even joked in his normal pregame press conference that Jeter said, "said he would DH today." He did tell the media that it was good to have the Captain back in the clubhouse talking to the guys again.

Neither Cashman nor Girardi had a doubt in their mind that Jeter would return to form and would be back when he fully healed.

"Our hope is that he will just pick up where he left off last year," Girardi said. "I don't think any of us are going to know until we get to that point. We are under the impression that he would heal up, he would be a player for us, and he would play shortstop."

Jeter, who truly thought he would be back for the beginning of the 2013 season, was in terrific spirits during his press conference. The packed house of 80 people and 11 cameras from multiple media outlets anticipated what the Captain might say about his latest setback, but in true Jeter form, he told the media a lot without saying to much.

The one thing that everyone knows about Jeter is that he's a competitor and that sitting on the sidelines is something that privately is iritating him.

"It's been a difficult process, it's been frustrating," Jeter said. "Just when you think you're close to coming back, you have a setback. It's part of the healing process; when you get hurt it's supposed to take time, but unfortunately it's taking longer than I anticipated."

His confidence has not waned in the least. Jeter said all of the things you would expect him to say, but he said with conviction that he will be back. Never did the thought of retirement enter his mind.

Jeter did not give a timeline for his return, but did say, "I'm not giving a timeline. Last timeline I set I didn't make and I don't want to disappoint myself or anyone else. Whenever it heals, I'll be back."

With Youkilis on the mend, beware of the lefties

Once again Kevin Youkilis is not in the lineup after coming out of the game on Saturday in Toronto with back spasms. The Yankees were hoping to bring his bat back into the lineup, especially with the left-handed Mark Buehrle on the mound for the Blue Jays.

Buehrle, who had his best of his four early starts this season on Saturday against the Yankees, went seven strong with seven strikeouts, one walk and allowing three runs, two of which were earned runs. This is a trend that has been going on with the Yankees against left-handed pitchers this season and with Youkilis out it makes the Yankees lineup that much weaker against southpaws.

"I think part of is that Youk's been out a little, but we have a lot of left-handed hitters in our lineup," Girardi said. "Right-handers haven't hit as well as I believe they are going to. It's just a combination of a few things. [Ben] Francisco is a guy we expect to do more damage, he's hit some balls hard and hopefully that gets him going."

Girardi told the media that Youkilis tried to work in the cage today and he still wasn't ready to play and that he's still considered day-to-day.

"It's just stiff," Girardi said of Youkilis's injury. "He's not rotating the way he wants to rotate, which is important for a hitter. He's just not ready to go."

Girardi did reiterate that this is something they are still not concerned about and they expect him to return to the lineup very shortly.

Always expect the best

The Yankees always expect the best and expect to win every year. That attittude hasn't changed in years.

This current Yankees team, although a lot of these players are just holding down the fort until some of the big names come back, has held their own. In fact, a lot of the baseball has been down right fun to watch to this point.

Brian Cashman, who always expects the best out of his ballclub, doesn't like excuses. Even though the Yankees have been riddled with injuries, he will not use that as an excuse.

"[It's] not where we want to be," Cashman responded when asked what he thought of the team's surprise play early on. "We want to be in first place, so we've got work to do."

At 11-9, the Yankees have work to do as they welcome in the Toronto Blue Jays, who have been less than spectacular to start the season after lofty expectations were perched on them in the offseason.

NFL Draft

Baseball and football have always had a tie. A lot of football players played baseball and visa versa. Dave Winfield could have been a Hall of Fame football player according to some circles. Alex Rodriguez is also in that same company that could have been a terrific football player. Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig were all-pro football players, but, thankfully for Yankees fans, they chose baseball.

Looking at the other side of the coin, the Yankees drafted John Elway in 1981, but he ultimately chose to go the NFL draft route -- and thank goodness he did. The Yankees had Hall of Famer Deion Sanders on their roster, who was for a long time a two way player.

Just recently, the Yankees drafted Austin Aune in the second round, who passed up playing quarterback for TCU to be drafted by the Yankees.

It just goest to show you that a lot of these professionals are just all around tremendous athletes. comments