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TON -- Derek Jeter grimaced and was hobbled after lunging for first base during the Yankees' 5-4 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park, unable to persuade manager Joe Girardi to keep him in the game.
The play forced the Yankees to reveal that Jeter has been quietly battling a bone bruise in his left ankle, and of course, Jeter expects to be in the lineup on Thursday. What else would you expect?
"I don't talk about injuries," Jeter said. "Either you play or you don't. I'm playing, so it's not an issue. At this point in the season, I'm sure there are a lot of guys that have some things bothering them. I'm really never one to talk about them."
Jeter has played in 140 of the Yankees' 142 games this season, and Girardi said that the captain has been fighting this particular injury at least since the club's series against the Rays last week at Tropicana Field.
"It's just something he has to deal with," Girardi said. "I asked him after the game how he was, and he said, 'Great.' That's usually his response all the time."
Girardi said that knowing Jeter, he expects the shortstop to try to play on Thursday. Given the Yankees' continuing fight in the American League East race, where they'll enter play Thursday deadlocked once again with the Orioles, Girardi is willing to listen to Jeter's case.
"I'm aware of what's going on, but it is concerning that he can't run," Girardi said. "For the most part, it's been when you watch him run, it's when he has to make turns that he's been hobbled a little bit.
"Straight forward, he's had no problem. When he lunged [for first base], he reaggravated it. It hasn't went away, so it's just something we've got to deal with. Hopefully he's OK tomorrow."
Jeter was batting against Red Sox reliever Chris Carpenter when he slapped a grounder to second base. Hustling down the line, Jeter was thrown out and limped into right field, bending over in apparent pain.
Head athletic trainer Steve Donohue and Girardi came onto the field to speak with Jeter, who campaigned to stay in the game but was quickly overruled by Girardi.
"I told him I was fine, really," Jeter said. "I said, 'I'm fine to stay in,' and he said, 'Go in and put ice on it.' That was basically the extent of the conversation. We were winning at the time and I came out; it's really nothing more than that."
Girardi said that, unlike Mark Teixeira's left calf strain, Jeter's injury is not one that can be made worse by playing on it.
The deciding factor is how much pain Jeter can withstand, and given his track record, the smart money would indicate that he won't miss much time.
"I'll be fine," Jeter said. "I'm not going to sit here and talk about it. My opinion is, you play or you don't play. If you play, why talk about it?"