There's nothing odd about having a sore hamstring after a few days of Spring Training. Working out the kinks can take its toll, which is why players, especially older ones, are better suited by taking it nice and easy for as long as possible. That's why the timing of the World Baseball Classic is a bit problematic, according to Joe Girardi.
"It's awful early to play meaningful games," Girardi said. "Guys are going to get sore. It does concern me. The last thing we want is for a player to get hurt during the WBC."
That's why the way he's handling Derek Jeter's sore hamstring is curious. Jeter, one of those older players mentioned above, sat out part of Sunday's practice to rest the muscle injury, which isn't being handled as if it is all that serious. Things have a way of getting worse without rest, though, and Jeter's supposed to float over to Team USA next week for actual games. The Yankees, whose hands are admittedly tied by MLB's fascination with the WBC, are going out of their way to help Jeter get there.
Girardi plans to play Jeter in four of the team's first five exhibition games, according to the Daily News, so that he is ready for the WBC. It's hard to imagine the team would do something similar with, say, Jorge Posada, because, in fact, they did the exact opposite with Posada last month. There was a lot of commentary coming out of Yankee camp about how Posada, recovering from a shoulder injury, should skip the WBC and concentrate on his duties with the Yankees.
Shouldn't the same be true of the team's captain? Obviously Jeter's tweaked hammy is worlds away from an injury that cost Posada most of 2008, but the severity now has to be measured against the worst case scenario later. It won't take more than an injury or two for the boulder to start rolling downhill fast. During the season, it may be an unavoidable fate for an older team with health risks. Before the season, though, it's totally avoidable. Brian Cashman and Girardi have to know that, so you've got to wonder why they don't remind Jeter where he belongs this time next week.