Thursday, February 27, 2014


The off season can be as relaxing as it can be anxious for many athletes who look to improve themselves from the previous season’s personal best.  As a runner, I partake in strength and conditioning routines, sprint workouts and even yoga to enter the spring racing season, stronger, faster and fitter.  The off season is also a good time to reflect on where you have come from and where you are headed.  What can be improved in your swing, your stride, your form, and your fitness?  Sometimes muscles, which have lain dormant or underused because of injury or routine non-use need to be re-fired up so they can support your body as it pushes itself beyond the accomplishments of last year.  And for Derek Jeter, it just like any other year, except maybe last year when he tried to push his body to do something it just wasn’t ready for yet.

Physicians from New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery, who incidentally cured Joe DiMaggio’s chronic heel pain that ended his career early, predict that Derek Jeter’s ankle won’t hold him back from the success he desires in his final season. “Unlike what turned out to be the case last spring, the doctors said Jeter's ankle has had more than enough time to heal, and it is now likely structurally sound after an off season in which Jeter has said he worked out more feverishly than ever before. While he may experience problems with the joint later in life, like arthritis, he probably won't feel much more than soreness between now and October,” according to a report from Sport Illustrated this week.  Although the doctors have never examined Jeter themselves, their years of experience in caring for foot related injuries, including the Yankee Clipper’s, bring some focus and validity to their take on Jeter’s ankle injury.  “Knowing the type of care he's gotten, I think he's going to come back very strong," Positano (one of the physicians) said. "He's going to shut a lot of people up. I think you're going to see a resiliency here that this person's always had. To have that type of success in professional sports requires unbelievable focus and dedication. He's going to apply that to his rehabilitation, to maintaining the strength and stability he needs to become effective again.

So does Jeter feel there is difference this spring versus last spring?  “There is no comparison because I had four months to only strengthen my legs. You can’t compare last year and this year. Do the math in your head and I had more time to prepare,” said Jeter to reporters according to the New York Post“I am always going to tell you I am fine. This year I mean it,’’ said Jeter, who explained the first full-squad workout didn’t feel any different, though this is his final spring training and he dropped five pounds and is down to 193, thanks to a better diet and the off season conditioning program,” according to the same article.

Yankee skipper Joe Girardi likes what he sees on the field from the comeback kid.  “To me it looked like he never got hurt. Just watching the jogging and stretching and running. His running looked normal to me, what I was used to seeing in the past,” according to the Post. 

Well, this is all good news- actually great news for not only Jeter who has had to endure probably one of the worst periods of his life over the last 16-months, but for us who love him.  He is the quintessential Yankees and guess what, he’s fired up and ready to go!

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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