NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter took one step out of the batter’s box and clearly was in trouble.
Noticeably limping, the New York Yankees star managed to jog down the first base line. He touched the bag, turned right toward the dugout and was done in the fifth inning of Monday night’s 1-0 loss to Cleveland.
A strained right calf stalled Jeter’s pursuit of 3,000 hits. He headed to a hospital for an MRI exam, which showed a Grade I strain, the mildest type. The Yankees said they would determine the next step Tuesday — and they hope it’s not a trip to the disabled list.
“I’m worried about him,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Just keep our fingers crossed and hopefully it’s not too serious.”
Jeter, who had a leadoff single for career hit No. 2,994, appeared to hurt himself on a flyout to right field in the fifth. He has not been on the disabled list since 2003.
“He just walked off the field and you could tell he was done,” Girardi said. “You don’t see him come out of games.”
Regardless of the MRI results, Girardi said he didn’t think Jeter would be able to play Tuesday night against Texas.
Teammates, fans and even Jeter himself had said it would be nice to achieve the milestone at Yankee Stadium. New York has three games left against Texas on this homestand, then goes on a six-game road trip to Wrigley Field in Chicago, and Cincinnati.
“It’s frustrating,” Girardi said. “He’s six hits away. You’d hope he could’ve did it here. Obviously, he looked pretty sore.”
Jeter’s single helped the Yankees load the bases with no outs in the first against Carlos Carrasco (6-3). But Jeter hesitated on Alex Rodriguez’s medium-depth fly and stayed at third base — center fielder Michael Brantley appeared ready to concede the run — and Carrasco got out of the jam without allowing a run.
Carrasco pitched five-hit ball for seven innings, striking out seven and walking three. The Yankees certainly had their chances at the start against him — of their first 14 batters, seven reached base. The 24-year-old righty set down 13 of his last 14.
“I thought that Carrasco gave us a terrific pick-me-up,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He started shaky with a lot of traffic out there, but I can’t say enough about the job that he did.”
The Indians had lost four in a row overall and were able to avoid a four-game sweep in the Bronx. They handed New York its first 1-0 loss in the three-season history of new Yankee Stadium.
Acta shuffled his batting order, putting Carlos Santana, Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera into lineup spots where they’d never hit before. The Indians had totaled only 21 runs while losing nine of 10, and managed to scratch out just enough to win.
Brantley tripled off the glove of diving right fielder Nick Swisher in the fourth and Cabrera bounced an RBI single to left field. That go-ahead grounder stopped the Indians’ 0-for-20 drought with runners in scoring position.
Tony Sipp got two outs in the eighth, retiring Mark Teixeira on a flyball up against the right-center wall, and reliever Vinnie Pestano ended the inning. Chris Perez struck out the side in the ninth for his 16th save in 17 chances.
A.J. Burnett (6-5) rebounded from a battering by Boston and took the hard-luck loss. He gave up five hits in 7 2-3 innings, walked one and struck out eight.
All eyes, and cameras, were on Jeter when stepped to the plate in the first. He looked fine when he grounded out in the second and seemed to be having no problems at shortstop.
But the New York captain clearly was ailing as soon as he hit a fly to right field in the fifth. He was limping with his first step out of the batter’s box — he wasn’t totally hobbled, though it was apparent something was wrong — as he made his way down the line. He touched first base after the ball was caught, returned to the dugout and left the game.
Eduardo Nunez replaced Jeter to start the top of the sixth. There was a slight murmur in the crowd of 43,551 when the public-address announcer told fans that Nunez was the new shortstop.
Jeter is trying to become the first player to reach 3,000 hits while with the Yankees. Approaching his 37th birthday, he had been in a pronounced slump to start the season but had been showing more flashes of his All-Star form in recent weeks.
NOTES: Major League Baseball said it is still reviewing whether Cleveland RHP Mitch Talbot should be penalized for plunking Rodriguez on Saturday. … Indians slugger Travis Hafner (strained right oblique) will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Akron on Tuesday if he feels OK. … Yankees C Russell Martin was a late scratch with a stiff back. He recently missed four games with the same problem. … Yankees DH Jorge Posada extended his season-long seven-game hitting streak. … Girardi has not announced a starter in place of injured Bartolo Colon for Thursday vs. Texas. It could be rookie RHP Hector Noesi. … The Yankees’ previous 1-0 home loss was Aug. 1, 2008, against the Angels.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)