New York Yankees fans must have thought they had seen the last of Derek Jeter after the shortstop broke his ankle in the 2012 American League Championship series against Detroit.
Jeter went down taking a routine ball in Game One of the series, which the Yankees lost 4-0, and needed surgery to correct a fractured left ankle days later. It ruined his series, season, and threatened the 38-year-old’s career but, thankfully, three months of physiotherapy and rehabilitation has brought him back to competitive fitness.
Now, instead of waving goodbye to Jeter there is every chance Yankees fans will see him play another pivotal role in their season after the shortstop confirmed he would be fit for Opening Day in the MLB come April.
“Everything went well,” he told MLB betting news reporters last week, before being asked about his chances of playing the start of the season: “Why not? I’ve always said [I'’ll be ready], for a long time. I told you it’s fine now.”
Indeed, Jeter may have thought all along he would be fine but many fans betting MLB World Series had serious concerns he would never pick up a glove and bat again. At 38-years-old, New York’s legendary shortstop is not getting any younger and, although his game does not require 100% fitness every day, his ankle surgery could affect his play over the season.
If Jeter can prove himself fit for Opening Day, however, his presence at the least will be a real boost for this Yankees side still hurting from Detroit’s demolition last October. Manager, Joe Girardi, has made changes this offseason and the team look stronger then ever, a good sign heading into a new campaign with that 2009 World Series success still in fans’ minds.