SAN DIEGO (AP) — The New York Yankees could be losing shortstop Derek Jeter again — to yet another leg injury.
An MRI exam revealed that Jeter has a strained right calf, the latest setback in a year already full of injuries for the team captain. The Yankees hope to know more about his condition before Monday night’s game at the Chicago White Sox.
“Who knows?” Jeter said when asked if he’d be shut down again. “I’m tired of trying to speculate. It’s frustrating, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
“It’s been terrible, like a nightmare,” he added after the Yankees’ 6-3 loss to San Diego on Sunday. “The whole season’s been a nightmare, so I really don’t know what to tell you. I wish that wasn’t the case, we were sitting here talking about something other than injuries. We’ll see what happens. I have no idea.”
Jeter, 38, didn’t play Saturday or Sunday against the Padres.
“The odd thing is there was no play where it happened,” Jeter said. “Usually, you feel it in a particular play, but I didn’t feel it in any particular play. We got to L.A., I started to feel it Monday night, Tuesday on the off day after Sunday’s game.
“It’s different because when I did it last time, I felt it. I was running to first base, and I felt it. This time I didn’t feel anything when I was playing. It was later on that night, the next day. So I can’t pinpoint when it happened. I don’t know when it happened. Maybe adrenaline got me through it. Anything would be speculation (if) I try to figure out when I did it.”
It did appear that Jeter took an awkward step while making a play in Friday night’s 7-2 loss to San Diego. He also had an awkward slide into third base.
In announcing Jeter’s latest injury, manager Joe Girardi said: “I can’t tell you what that means or what we’re going to do with him. I’m not sure what we’re going to do considering where we are at this point of the year.”
Asked before the game if he’s concerned that Jeter keeps getting hurt, the manager said: “I think that if he had a normal spring training and he wasn’t coming off an injury like he did, I don’t think these things would be happening. My guess is next year will be different, but only time will tell.
“Could it happen again?” Girardi said. “Yeah something could happen, because we’re at that time of year where we can’t really afford to say, ‘Take 25 days.’ You can’t do that.”
Is the injury part of Jeter still favoring the left ankle he broke in last season’s AL championship series?
“You’re asking me to play doctor or God, which is even harder. I can’t do that,” Girardi said.
Girardi doesn’t know if the new injury came about because of a strained right quadriceps that landed Jeter on the disabled list from July 12 until being activated last Sunday.
Jeter is hitting .211 (4 for 19) with one home run and two RBIs.
The Yankees got only 2 2-3 innings from Phil Hughes on Sunday and lost to Ian Kennedy in his Padres debut.
“It’s frustrating,” Girardi said. “We had a chance to win the series and didn’t. We’re going to have to if we’re going to play in October.”
The Yankees are a season-worst 9½ games out of first place in the AL East and 4½ out in the race for the second wild-card spot.
“There’s still a lot of time. The teams in front we’re going to play a lot, but you don’t’ want to dig yourself a big hole,” Girardi said.
Hughes (4-10) had his second-shortest outing of the season, allowing five runs and six hits while striking out one and walking one.
The Southern California native got through the first inning unscathed but was roughed up in the second and third innings. He allowed singles to Will Venable and Chris Denorfia opening the second before Mark Kotsay hit a sacrifice fly. He then walked Nick Hundley before Kennedy sacrificed ahead of Everth Cabrera’s two-run single.
Hughes again put on the first two batters in the third, allowing a single to Alexi Amarista and walking Chase Headley, and again, both scored. Denorfia hit a sacrifice fly and Kotsay hit an RBI single with two outs, chasing Hughes.
“He couldn’t put people away,” Girardi said. “The bottom line is, he didn’t make pitches when he had to.”
Hughes, who’s 0-3 in his last five starts, agreed.
“I blew an opportunity there in the second to get an out, two outs, and it comes down to not making quality pitches when I had to,” he said. “There were runners in scoring position and a lot of long counts and just a battle the entire time. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to execute a couple of big pitches with two outs.”
It was the sixth time this season he’s gone four innings or fewer.
NOTES: Yankees RHP Michael Pineda came out of his start with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday night with shoulder stiffness, and Girardi said he will be evaluated by doctors this week. Coming off April 2012 surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, Pineda is 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 10 minor league starts this year. … The Yankees open a three-game series at the Chicago White Sox on Monday night, with LHP Andy Pettitte (7-8, 4.28 ERA) scheduled to oppose LHP Jose Quintana (5-3, 3.62).