Brendan Ryan had an MRI Friday that revealed something pushing on the nerves in his back, and the shortstop likely will start the season on the disabled list. This is bad news for the Yankees, seeing as Ryan is expected to be the back-up to Derek Jeter. The Yankees open the season with 13 straight days of games. With the Yankees being as careful with Jeter as a mother with her newborn baby, it would probably be a good bet to say Jeter will not play in all 13 games. “I like to play every day. Bottom line,” Jeter said before the Yankees hosted the Pirates Friday. “When I play, when I don’t play is not up to me. But my job is to be ready to play every day. It’s always been that way. It always will be that way.” Jeter did manage to give the Yankees a scare Friday, when he repeatedly fouled a couple of balls off his left foot in the first inning. In obvious pain, he struggled to regain his balance but stayed in the game.
Joe Girardi announced on Thursday that if Ryan is not ready for opening day, then either Dean Anna or Yangervis Solarte could get the nod. Both have been impressive with the bat this spring, and both have shown capabilities in the infield. Ryan’s injury won’t affect how often Jeter plays, Girardi said:
You can’t let someone’s playing time depend on if there’s an injury or not to someone else…You still have to adjust to that player… I’ve told Derek all along there is no magic number. It depends on how I feel that he’s moving and our communication. If he needs a day, then that’s how I’ll look at it.
Ryan hasn’t played since March 4th, due to his back issues. He was supposed to start Thursday but was scratched just before game time. “Everything’s just snarled up,” he said. “I feel it a little bit when I breathe.” The Yankees dealt with plenty of these injury problems last year, and are just hoping Ryan’s isn’t severe enough to keep him out for too long to begin the season.