Derek Jeter's equipment sent to Bronx, Jeter next?

Hunter Martin

Where a shortstop's boxes of boxers go, the shortstop himself is sure to follow.

It's a bit odd to be forecasting the future via someone's luggage, but okay, I guess scrying through Samsonite beats doing so via a crystal ball or picking through chicken entrails, so here we go again playing Steamer-Trunk Cassandra with George King of the New York Post:

Derek Jeter's equipment from Tampa has made it to The Bronx, likely meaning the Yankees captain won't be far behind.

Jeter's equipment coming to New York, as opposed to Scranton where the shortstop will continue his Triple-A rehab tonight, is a very strong indication he will be in pinstripes this weekend for the Yankees final games before the All-Star break against the Twins.

On one hand, this kind of poking about in the ashes looking for burning embers is a fun bit of journalism-as-spycraft, plus it's a legitimately exciting bit of baseball news. Jeter is an all-time great, he's about to end his consecutive-games-not-played streak, and he could be a serious boost to a contender that is bleeding profusely at shortstop. It's so rare that we get to say, "Ladies and gentlemen: Elvis is in the building!"

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Having said that, at this point, I am required to reiterate what is by now my Standard Jeter Disclaimer:

WARNING: Derek Jeter is a 39-year-old shortstop, which is, by definition, a contradiction in terms. Thirty-nine-year-old shortstops who did not have good range at 29 are unlikely to display improved range when playing on one leg after missing more than half a season. Although Derek Jeter has never bothered to do so, it is considered standard practice for shortstops to field balls hit more than a half a yard to their left. Excess balls in play allowed to sneak through the infield may result in runs which your offense will be hard-pressed to compensate for, even if your shortstop plays to his .313/.382/.448 career norms. Players who were massive threats to hit into a double play may be even more likely to do so after suffering a serious leg injury. If double plays persist, discontinue usage and consult a doctor immediately.

Again, I'm not saying it won't be good to see Jeter back. As one who had to watch Bobby Meacham play shortstop for the Yankees, I'm looking forward to it. There's just a lot we don't know about his ability to play at this point.

Anyway, that's the news: the Yankees have Derek Jeter's luggage in their possession. At the very least, this means that when Jeter next visits the Bronx there should be a clean change of clothes waiting him, maybe a toothbrush. As for the rest, it reminds me of the episode of "The Twilight Zone" where an airplane lands at the airport, only there's no one on it -- no passengers, no crew, no pilot -- just Derek Jeter's equipment. Spooky, huh?

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