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Injuries are sore spot for Yankees

Jeter’s return was a short one

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter didn’t even make it through an entire game before returning to the disabled list.

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter didn’t even make it through an entire game before returning to the disabled list.

For nearly 20 minutes, Derek Jeter stood along Fenway Park’s left-field line. He played catch with Anthony Flynn, the Yankees’ video coordinator.

Jeter then addressed the media (for six minutes) and signed autographs (three minutes) before retreating to the visitor’s clubhouse at 5:53 p.m.

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While his teammates continued batting practice, Jeter’s night — for on-field purposes — was done.

For the 95th time this season, New York’s captain was not in the lineup.

“We’ve played almost 100 games and I’ve played only one,” Jeter said. “That doesn’t even sound right.”

Such is life for the Yankees this season, who’ve endured injury after injury.

Yet New York sits seven games behind Boston in the AL East and well within reach of a wild-card spot.

“I would be lying to you if I said it wasn’t a bit odd the way things have been happening,” said Jeter, placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained right quadriceps. “You get guys back, they get hurt again. The number of guys — I haven’t seen it since I’ve been here.”

In total, 15 New York players have accumulated 19 stints on the disabled list this season.

Several — Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Francisco Cervelli, and now Jeter — sustained setbacks or second injuries after returning.

Another member for the DL looms. Zoilo Almonte exited Friday night’s 4-2 loss to the Red Sox in the fifth inning.

Manager Joe Girardi said the 24-year-old outfielder — sporting a walking boot and crutches after the game — would likely need time on the DL.

“You just have to deal,” said Girardi, a bit dejected after the loss.

A broken ankle sidelined Jeter for the Yankees’ first 93 games. The strained quadriceps occurred last week — in his first game back.

“It was a teaser,” closer Mariano Rivera said. “You give a kid a toy, then in the afternoon you take it back.”

Jeter, 39, doesn’t think he came back too soon. He received treatments over the All-Star break and thought he could play Friday night.

“I don’t think they trust me too much anymore,” Jeter said. “So they put me in the MRI machine again.”

An MRI on Thursday “showed minimal healing,” general manager Brian Cashman said.

Jeter hopes to return July 27, the first day he is eligible.

“It’s unfortunate,” Girardi said. “But it’s what we’ve dealt with all year.”

New York has filled the voids with a rotating cast of characters. The Yankees have used 44 players this season, including nine infielders.

Brent Lillibridge, recently acquired from the Cubs, was called up from Triple A on Friday to replace Jeter. Luis Cruz has played shortstop, too.

Cruz is so new that on Sunday he tweeted: “Any good places to live in NY?? Or near the City???”

Several regulars, such as Jayson Nix and Granderson, could return soon. Most notably, Alex Rodriguez (hip) is scheduled to join the team Monday. The Yankees are excited about that.

“He’s better than the production we’ve gotten so far at third base this year,” Cashman said. “With all due respect to everybody else.”

Still, the Yankees refuse to sulk over the injuries. It happens to every team, Jeter said.

“Boston had a lot of injuries last year,” Jeter pointed out. “You got to deal with it and move on.”

Moving on for the Yankees — as always — means contending for the playoffs.

Cashman confirmed the Yankees expect to be buyers as the trade deadline looms. The GM said he is interested “in adding and reinforcing and getting better.”

For Jeter, sitting out is especially frustrating.

“I have a responsibility to be out there each and every day each and every year,” he said.

“Regardless of where our team is in the standings or who we’re playing. I want to play.”

For now, the Yankees must keep clawing for a playoff spot without him.

It’s something they are now accustomed to.

Emily Kaplan can be reached at emily.kaplan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @emilymkaplan.
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