Sunday, April 13, 2014

Girardi on resting Jeter: 'I wasn't hired to put on a farewell tour'

It was set up as the perfect day for Yankees fans Saturday afternoon. Sun drenched seats, the Boston Red Sox showing off their new rings and a chance to see Derek Jeter lead off during the last season of his career.

Scratch that.

The Yankees captain didn't play at all in the 7-4 victory over the Bombers' rivals and manager Joe Girardi made no apologies for disappointing the revved-up fans and their iPhones by sitting his star.

Girardi kept a healthy Jeter out of the lineup, and the skipper made it clear that he will continue to sporadically rest the 39-year-old shortstop with the aim of keeping him healthy for all of 2014.

“I have to manage him with a focus of winning games and keeping him healthy, not being a farewell tour,” Girardi said before the game. “I wasn’t hired to put on a farewell tour.”

With Saturday's game coming after a night game, Girardi's basic logic was that Jeter was due for a break — especially after the shortstop already played 10 of the Yankees' first 11 games.

“There is not a whole lot I can do about that,” Girardi said. “When you start running guys out there too much, you risk injury. I think people would be a little bit more upset if he were out two weeks or a month or something like that.

“I understand that fans want to see him play. I want to see him play. I would like to run him out there 162 times. But I have to do what is best for him and the team.”

Saturday’s game marked the second time in the Yankees’ first dozen games this season that Jeter was not in the lineup; he was replaced both times by Dean Anna, who went 1-for-4 with a double on against Boston.

Girardi shrugged off suggestions that he use Jeter to pinch hit (he's batting .286) or finding a way to slip a non-starting Jeets into games just to please the crowd.

“Then you start to run out of infielders and that sounds like to me it is for a farewell tour,” Girardi reasoned. “It is not the last week of the season. These games are obviously very important to us. They are important today, tomorrow, the next month. I have to manage that.

“I’m sorry if people came to see him today. I have to be smart about it.”

Like it or not Joe, it is Derek Jeter's Farewell Tour.

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