Derek Jeter is supposed to come back from the Disabled List on April 6th, but that's not happening. He hasn't done much of anything in the last week, received some cortisone shots in his ankle, and only played catch on Monday. Jeter has been dodging questions from reporters and decided to stop talking about how his leg feels, so it's been hard to tell how his rehab has been going.
Whether these complications were expected or not, it's clear that the Yankees were not sure how to deal with this. They have handled him with delicate care, but maintained the idea that he can rush back after a week into the season. It probably didn't need to be said, but Brian Cashman has confirmed that he will not be coming back on April 6th.
Missing Jeter is not only about lacking Derek Jeter in the lineup, but it also means that someone has to take his place and then someone needs to take his replacement's place. That not only weakens the lineup, but also the bench. On Monday's opener again Jon Lester, Eduardo Nunez started at shortstop and Ben Francisco was the Designated Hitter.
The original plan was to have Derek Jeter and Eduardo Nunez in the game against lefties. Jeter has a career 147 wRC+ against them, while Nunez has a 102 wRC+. Take out Jeter and add in Francisco, who also has a 102 wRC+ against left handers and there is no way the Yankees can make up for that production, if only just according to their platoon splits.
Nunez and Francisco are merely league average against left handed pitching. Travis Hafner is the DH against right handers, but he won't be getting many at bats against lefties. Vernon Wells will be playing every day until Curtis Granderson comes back, Lyle Overbay is incapable of hitting lefties, Jayson Nix was already going to be playing and Brennan Boesch is kind of a mystery. None of these guys can make up for Jeter missing time.
The Yankees already had a problem finding hitters who could hit against left handed pitching to sit on the bench and now one of their starters, probably their best bet against left handers, is on the shelf and no one really knows until when. He could be out until May or later or he could be out an extra week. When there's metal in your leg there's no telling what will happen. The Yankee lineups against lefties will only get uglier as we wait.