NEW YORK — For the first time since Oct. 8, 1995, the New York Yankees played a postseason game without Derek Jeter in the lineup.
Jeter was not even at Yankee Stadium for Sunday’s 3-0 loss in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, having been told to stay off his fractured left ankle.
Jeter was injured while fielding a routine ground ball in the 12th inning of Game 1 early Sunday morning. An MRI and CT scan confirmed the fracture and Jeter is scheduled to see a specialist, Dr. Robert Anderson, in Charlotte, N.C., in the coming days.
Jeter may need surgery on his ankle, but the hope remains he will he ready for spring training after a three-month recovery.
“This is a tough story for baseball, what he has done in the postseason, what he means to the Yankees, what he means to baseball in general,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Through Saturday, Major League Baseball had conducted 539 postseason games since 1996. Jeter played in 158 of them.
Jayson Nix started at shortstop in place of Jeter and was 0 for 3. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera suffered a season-ending knee injury on May 3 in Kansas City chasing a batting-practice fly ball hit by Nix.
Now the Yankees have to complete the postseason without their shortstop, captain, and one of their best hitters.
“What would Derek say? ‘I’m great, let’s go.’ That would be his message, and we have to find a way,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We have done it all year long, and we’re going to have to do it again. I mean, how often have we had our full lineup the whole year? Not very often.”
Jeter is one of the few Yankees to hit this postseason, going 9 for 27 in six games with four runs scored and two RBIs.
“It is not a player you want to lose, there is no secret to that,” Girardi said. “He means a lot to this club and we understand that. There are other guys that we have lost during the course of the season that meant a lot to our club, and we found a way. And that’s what we need to do . . . You are still throwing nine guys out there in the lineup that are very capable.”
Torre not interested
If you were hoping the Red Sox could entice Joe Torre back into the dugout, be advised he has no plans to leave the commissioner’s office and manage again.
The 72-year-old Torre is Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations and hasn’t managed since 2010. Any speculation that he would return to the Red Sox is unfounded, he said.
“I don’t know where that came from,” Torre said. “Certainly not my camp.”
Torre visited Jeter in the trainer’s room after Game 1. He described a somber scene.
“It was pretty sad for me. It wasn’t devastating, just sad,” Torre said. “He wasn’t talking last night. Guys were coming in after the game was over, but there really was nothing to say. He just sat there.”
Torre managed Jeter for 12 seasons and the two remain close.
“You hate to see that happen. Not only the fact that he’s having a terrific season and postseason, you don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” Torre said. “Knowing what he’s meant to this franchise for so many years, it’s a blow.”
For one game, at least, Jose Valverde was demoted as the closer for Detroit. The righthander has allowed seven runs on seven hits in his last two outings.
Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez each had two-run homers against Valverde on Saturday. Phil Coke pitched the final two innings on Sunday. Leyland met with his coaches, general manager Dave Dombrowski, and assistant GM Al Avila after Game 1 to discuss the situation. Leyland said Valverde is having issues with the tempo of his delivery. He also knows that in a postseason setting, a manager has to be decisive.
“I understand the magnitude of it in the postseason. I understand it’s a normal thing to say, ‘Well, you can’t close with him.’ That’s easy to say,” Leyland said. “However, don’t forget, the last three outs are very tough to get, and it takes a special cat in a lot of cases to do that.”
K’s for Kuroda
The 11 strikeouts by Hiroki Kuroda were the third-most for a Yankees pitcher in the postseason. The record is 15 by Roger Clemens against Seattle in Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS . . . The Tigers are 8-3 in three playoff series against the Yankees . . . Miguel Cabrera has reached safely in all 18 postseason games he has played for the Tigers.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.