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July 4, 2011

Derek Jeter 's Quest to Resume

You're going to be inundated with two different Derek Jeter stories this week.

One concerns the 37-year-old chump who, by being selected to his 12th All-Star Game robbed the world of watching Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta next Tuesday night.

The other follows the New York Yankees captain's quest, while sitting at 2994 hits, to become the 28th member of the 3000 hit club.

Frankly, with all due respect to Mr. Peralta, I'd prefer to focus on milestones and the history of the game rather than the SABR-fueled snubbings

Well, after a brief, less than spectacular, rehab assignment with the Trenton Thunder this past weekend, Jeter is set to return Monday when his Yankees open up a three game set against the Cleveland Indians.

And now that he's back...our eyes turn to when he'll get hit number 3000 and who will surrender it.

Unfortunately for Jeter, there are no long-time veterans that he's seen a number of times. Basically, until David Price takes the bump for the Tampa Bay Rays against the Yankees this weekend...the shortstop is facing mostly unknown commodities.

Monday, the Indians send second-year starter Josh Tomlin to the mound and Tuesday, the ball goes to 24-year-old Carlos Carrasco. Combined, Jeter has three hits in nine at bats off the top hurlers.  Sure, three-for-nine is good for a .333 batting average, but still...less than ten plate appearances doesn't scream "historical matchup".

Wednesday night is a little better for Jeter. But not much.

Taking the hill for the Tribe is Justin Masterson. Jeter has faced the Indians ace twelve times (getting five hits), but that doesn't really compare to, for example, the 130 plate appearances against Masterson's former Boston teammate Tim Wakefield.

But let's be honest with we really think number 3000 is going to happen in Cleveland?

Not a chance.

Thursday night, the Bombers return home and square off against divisional rivals Tampa Bay.

On the mound for the Rays in those four games...Jeff Niemann, Jeremy Hellickson, David Price and James Shields.

Jeter is a combined six-for-eleven against Niemann and Hellickson and six-for-25 against fellow All-Star David Price.

But it is the James Shields matchup Sunday that intrigues me most.  And it is against Shields that I think Jeter gets hit number 3000.

It would be fitting right?

Against all odds, and on the eve of the Midsummer Classic, the Yankees superstar returns from injury to become the 28th player to reach 3000 hits and, in front of the world, is coronated baseball's latest hit king...therefore negating the opinions of those that scoffed at his selection.

Just'll happen.


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