New York Yankees superstar Derek Jeter made his return to the Yankees on Thursday and promptly got an infield single on the first pitch he saw after receiving a raucous standing ovation that lasted over 30 seconds, with the Yankee faithful chanting his name. He later scored in the bottom of the first inning in New York against the Kansas City Royals and went 1-4 with an RBI as the Yankees beat the Royals 8-4.
Jeter batted in the second spot in the lineup and started at DH, though he is soon expected to start as his familiar shortstop position. But the shortstop left the game in the eighth inning due to a tight quad, and will have an MRI on Friday.
More so than what the 39-year-old Yankee Captain may produce on the field, the Yankees will benefit from Jeter’s intangibles and leadership, which the team has missed in addition to the production from the shortstop position.
When the Houston Astros took Phil Nevin out of Cal State Fullerton over Jeter, out of Kalamazoo, in 1992, Astros scout Hal Newhouser quit after the Astros did not listen to him.
Newhouser has been proven right, as Jeter, who quickly won over Yankee veterans like Don Mattingly, became the face and leader of the franchise in addition to one of Major League Baseball’s signature players throughout the last two decades.
Jeter, Marino Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada were known as “the Core Four” because they all went through the minor league system together. Jeter and Rivera ensured the Yankees had the luxury of never having to worry about plugging a hole in the middle of the infield and who would close game.s
Rivera will retire after this season and Pettitte is pitching again for the Yankees. Posada retired before the 2012 season.
If Jeter can remain healthy, three of the original members of the “Core Four” will now try to win one last title together.