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DETROIT – The timetable for Derek Jeter’s return to the field got stretched out Wednesday when the New York Yankees announced their captain will have surgery on his fractured left ankle Saturday in Charlotte, N.C.
Jeter injured the ankle in Game One of the ALCS Saturday in the Bronx and the Yankees were originally hoping he would avoid surgery and be ready in about three months. But the surgery was announced about four hours before Game Four in Comerica Park and came with a timeline of four to five months.
That would make it unlikely Jeter would be ready for the start of spring training in February – and almost certainly means Jeter will not play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in March. The Yankees expect him to be ready for Opening Day next season.
Jeter needs some work on his ankle tissue in addition to his bone, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman said the timetable is simply a more conservative estimate. It also is reflective of when Jeter will be ready for games, not when he would start baseball activities.
“There is no new information,” Cashman said. “... Nothing seen worse than what our team doctor saw. But in terms of the timeframe, I just think they wanted to be more conservative with it. So that’s what we’re going to go with. My understanding is that it’s possible he will be ready earlier than that timeframe, but it is best to at least put out there four, five months as a safer bet.”
Eduardo Nunez made his second straight start at shortstop for the Yankees on Wednesday night. His home run Tuesday off Detroit ace Justin Verlander was the first longball Verlander has ever given up in the ninth inning in his career. Counting regular season play and the postseason, Nunez was the 85th batter Verlander has faced in the ninth.
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Tigers manager Jim Leyland speaking before the game on the stress of managing: “I always said I always got a kick out of when I go home at the end of a baseball season and somebody says: ‘Boy, you look bad.’ And I always tell them: ‘Well, show me a manager that looks like Paul Newman after 162 games, and I will show you a guy that didn’t do a very good job.’
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The Yankees’ 3-0 deficit in the series was a rarity in their franchise history. It was their first 3-0 deficit in 10 ALCS appearances – and just their fourth in 71 postseason series. They previously fell behind in the World Series in 1922 (vs. the New York Giants), 1963 (Los Angeles) and 1976 (Cincinnati). The Yankees didn’t win a game in any of them, tying one game in ‘22 and getting swept in the other two.
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Leyland got plenty of run nationally for quipping about Verlander’s removal in Game Three, “Normally I guess you don’t take Secretariat out in the final furlong, but that was pretty much it for him.”
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MLB’s official transcription of the interview was clearly not done by a horse racing fan. In notes distributed to the media, the quote was listed as “Normally I guess you don’t take the secretary out.”
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Tigers reliever Phil Coke has earned back-to-back saves in the series in place of Jose Valverde. Said Coke prior to Wednesday’s game: “I don’t have any idea what’s going on. I’m just having a good time.”
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Like every newspaper in America, the Detroit Free Press gave huge play to the Obama-Romney debate in Wednesday’s editions. The folks running the sports section made their own contributions with their banner headline about the Game Three win: “NO DEBATE: Verlander, Coke cast votes against Yanks in another nail-biter.”
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Arrogant or well-prepared? The Tigers put World Series tickets on sale to the public on their website Wednesday morning (prices $110-$330). The party line is that they needed have time to sell them, but the American League team does not host until Game Three on Oct. 27.

email: mharrington@buffnews.com