Hours before the New York Yankees lost their second American League Championship Series game to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters that team captain Derek Jeter was undergoing medical tests on his fractured ankle and wanted his team to keep going.
Girardi would not discuss Jeter's medical condition before the Sunday 3-0 defeat, as doctors were still trying to determine what the shortstop did to his ankle while trying to field a ground ball on the 12th inning of Saturday night's first ALCS game, which ended as a Detroit victory of 6-4.
The Tigers now lead the best of seven series 2-0.
Girardi assured reporters Sunday that Jeter told him “he still feels great,” but he would not say whether Jeter would be able to travel with the team for the rest of the season.
Jeter has been replaced on the batting roster by Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix is playing shortstop, as the team captain will need at least three months to recover.
"I think there’s very few athletes in the game that I actually see you people down that he’s hurt. I don’t know if I've ever seen that," the manager continued. "I mean, I see people come into my office to do my interviews, and they're down. And what would Derek say? 'I'm great, let's go.'"
Girardi did wonder whether Jeter's loss could inspire the Yankees to an even better level of play, saying, "He means a lot to this club."
"We've had to find a way. We've done it all long and we're going to have to do it again. I mean, how often have we had our full line-up the full year? Not very often. I mean, we just haven't," said Girardi. "People left us for dead in August, September, and we laughed it off."
The manager would also not say whether Jeter's previous injury contributed to this latest setback.
"'Damn' was my first reaction. He had pretty much been the only offense that we had the entire playoffs," said a Yankees fan. "It hurts to see him go down because when it comes down to it, you can't replace 'Captain Clutch.'"
Prior to his current injury, Jeter had played in all 158 Yankees playoff games since he was a rookie in 1996.
The Yankees now have a steep hill to climb as they head to Detroit for Game 3 of the ALCS.
The Tigers widened their lead after shutting out the Bombers in a controversial Game 2 that turned on a blown call.
During the eighth, the Tigers had a man on with two out when Austin Jackson singled into right. The throw came into second, but despite Robinson Cano's tag, Detroit's Omar Infante was called safe.
A video replay shows Cano's glove clearly touched Infante well short of the bag.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi argued the call and eventually got thrown out.
The Tigers would go on to score twice in the inning and won the game 3-0.
After the game, Girardi called on Major League Baseball to expand instant replay.
"In this day and age, when we have instant replay available to us, it's gotta change," said Girardi. "These guys are under a tremendous amount of pressure, it's a tough call for him because the tag is underneath, it's hard for him to see. It takes more time for me to argue, and get upset than you get the call right. There's just too much at stake."
Game 3 takes place Tuesday night in Detroit.
Phil Hughes takes the ball for the Yankees against Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
First pitch is set for 8 p.m.