Notes: 'Beat up' Jeter takes a seat
Yankees shortstop rests with bruise above right kneecap
DETROIT -- On the occasions when it is decided that an afternoon or evening of rest may benefit Derek Jeter, Yankees manager Joe Torre fills out his lineup card bracing for a fight.
But there were no objections voiced when the shortstop was held out of the lineup on Sunday, a clear indication that a season's worth of aches and pains may be catching up with Jeter.
"You learn over the years not to fight too much," Jeter said. "I want to play, that goes without saying. There are times days off can help."
The latest injury slowing Jeter is a bruise above his right kneecap suffered during the club's series against the Angels; Jeter believed it occurred during the Tuesday game but was not sure. The ailment has limited his mobility, especially in getting a first quick step out of the batter's box.
"It's just a little nagging thing, but it's really not that big of a deal," Jeter said. "The point of it is that you have a day off, and hopefully it will help."
But that isn't the only thing slowing Jeter, who also battled a right shoulder injury earlier in the season but would say little more than that he was all right.
"He's just beat up," Torre said. "There's a lot of other things, just from the wear and tear of the season. I just said to him last night, 'It's probably better if you take a day off.'"
Jeter went 0-for-5 in the Yankees' 7-2 victory over the Tigers on Saturday, and he has just one hit in his last 13 at-bats. He ranks 10th in the American League with a .320 batting average and has eight home runs and 58 RBIs through 127 games this season.
Torre said he checked on Jeter in the training room on Friday and asked him about a possible injury, citing a difference in Jeter's personality and body language. Finally, after concealing the bruise for days, Jeter admitted that he was ailing.
"He didn't really let anyone know about it until the day before yesterday," Torre said on Sunday. "It's nothing that's serious. This is something that's more irritated than anything else."
Torre said he was not sure if the issue would be fixed by just one day's rest, though Jeter insisted that he would play in Monday's series finale.
"We'll see how much energy he has [Monday] night," Torre said. "It's obvious, when you compare it to how you're used to seeing him. Some of his at-bats are really lacking, only because he's cheating a little bit, trying to get to the ball."
Fresh legs: Offered a vote of confidence in resuming life as an everyday player, Johnny Damon said on Sunday that he felt as though he'd already missed half the season due to injuries that slowed him, even though the outfielder remained successful in avoiding the disabled list.
"Hopefully, that means that I've got some catching up to do, and I'm going to do it," Damon said. "We just weren't clicking on all cylinders. With me at the top, when a pitcher looks at our lineup, they're saying, 'All right, we've got to deal with Johnny,' regardless of the game I have. I can go 0-for-5 or 0-for-6, but the pitcher knows he's going to be in for a battle."
The renewed, rejuvenated Damon is paying off for the Yankees. Since snapping an 0-for-20 skid on July 20, Damon is batting .364 (39-for-107) and the club has gone 12-1 in the games he has played left field. More importantly to Damon, his legs no longer ache when he patrols the outfield.
"I know how much better the team is when I'm going," Damon said. "The body feels good and I'm able to last out in the outfield for a whole game. Earlier on, by the time the third or fourth inning started coming, I was hurting. Then, it was the sixth or seventh inning. Now, I'm good."
See you in September: The Yankees have started internal dialogue concerning which players could be promoted once Major League rosters expand from 25 players to 40 on Sept. 1.
One likely candidate is first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who has excelled through four rehab games at Class A Tampa. Mientkiewicz, who has been sidelined since a June 2 collision at first base with Boston's Mike Lowell at Fenway Park, is 5-for-11 (.455) with three runs, two doubles, seven RBIs and three walks.
Torre said that he has spoken with general manager Brian Cashman only in generalities about needs the Yankees may have for the final month of the season -- infielders, a third catcher, some pitching help. Triple-A right-hander Ian Kennedy, who has a 2.08 ERA in six starts for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, is not likely to be one of the callups, Torre said, since he is not on the 40-man roster.
Bombers bits: With nine scoreless innings, Joba Chamberlain has the longest streak by a Yankees pitcher to begin his Major League career since Matt Smith threw 12 scoreless innings in 2006. ... With Saturday's sellout at Comerica Park, the Yankees have played in front of sold-out crowds in 15 consecutive games (eight on the road, seven at Yankee Stadium). ... Double-A right-hander Alan Horne was named the Eastern League's Pitcher of the Year. Horne is 12-4 with a 2.97 ERA at Trenton.
Coming up: The Yankees will wrap up their four-game series with the Tigers on Monday, sending right-hander Mike Mussina (8-9, 5.22) to the mound opposite right-hander Justin Verlander (13-5, 3.94). First pitch from Comerica Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET on the YES Network and ESPN 2.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.