- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter's pursuit of 3,000 hits will be put on hold for 15 days at least.
The New York Yankees announced Tuesday night that Jeter has been placed on the disabled list due to the Grade 1 strain of the right calf he suffered in the fifth inning of Monday night's loss to the Cleveland Indians.
The decision was made after a meeting with Jeter, manager Joe Girardi, general manager Brian Cashman and team doctor Chris Ahmad about an hour before Tuesday's game with the Texas Rangers, but Jeter made it clear in a pregame news conference that he was not on board with heading to the DL for the first time since 2003.
"I'd rather not go on (the DL). In my opinion if I could play in four or five days, or six days or seven days, it's better than waiting 15," a subdued Jeter said. "I haven't made a living on the disabled list."
Manager Joe Girardi said after the Yankees beat the Rangers 12-4 on Tuesday night the reason they decided put Jeter on the disabled list was because the team doctors and trainers thought his injury would take about 10 days to heal, rather than the typical seven days for the severity of his strain.
"At that point we thought it best to DL him," Girardi said. "The risk is he sits out seven, eight days, you play him. He strains it again, now you're looking at he's out another four weeks. That was our concern."
Girardi added: "He didn't want to go on the DL. That's to be expected."
About two hours before the decision was officially made, Girardi said six upcoming interleague games in National League parks where pinch hitters and double-switches will be necessary would also be a factor.
"You never know what kind of games you're going to get in the National League parks, so that's something we're weighing," Girardi had said. "If you feel that for sure, he's going to be ready in six or seven days, then you think about not DL-ing him. But the risk is that he tries to go after six or seven days, and he reinjures it, and now you're looking at two or three weeks."
Jeter is on the DL for the first time since he suffered a dislocated left shoulder on Opening Night 2003, an injury that cost him the first 36 games of the season. Eduardo Nunez replaced Jeter in Tuesday's lineup and Ramiro Pena was called up from Triple-A Scranton to fill Jeter's spot on the roster. In Jeter's absence, Brett Gardner will inherit the leadoff spot in the Yankees batting order.
"Nunie's gonna have a chance to step up here," Girardi said. "He's gonna get a chance to play every day, which he hasn't gotten a chance to do, and we'll see how he does."
In the Yankees' win Tuesday, Jeter called over Nunez before the rookie went to bat with the bases loaded in the second inning and gave his replacement some advice.
"He told me to watch for fastball. I hit a fastball," Nunez said of his RBI single that sparked a six-run second inning.
And what did Jeter say to the player who has been entrusted with his spot at shortstop after he scored in the second?
"He said, 'I told you so," Nunez said with a smile.
It was originally believed Jeter suffered the injury running out a fly ball in the fifth inning of Monday night's game, but Jeter revealed he had been experiencing soreness in the calf for a few days, and had felt it worsen as he was jogging off the field at the end of the Indians' fifth inning.
"It felt like it was a Charley Horse," Jeter said. "I thought it was just a cramp or something and when I was on deck I was trying to stretch it out."
Jeter had trouble getting out of the batter's box and was clearly hobbled as he ran to first, after which he headed down the tunnel toward the Yankees clubhouse with assistant trainer Steve Donahue.
"I knew something was wrong but I didn't think it was too serious," Jeter said. "I really didn't run too hard to first because I didn't want to take any chances. I really didn't know what it was. I was still hopeful that it was a cramp."
Jeter was sent to New York Presbyterian Hospital for an MRI, which revealed the Grade 1 strain, the least severe gradation. Last August, Alex Rodriguez suffered a similar injury, took three games off to allow it to heal, and then reinjured it in his first game back and wound up on the DL. The injury cost A-Rod 17 games overall, a fate the Yankees are trying to avoid with Jeter.
Tuesday, Jeter described the injury as feeling as if he had been hit by a pitch, and could give no definitive estimate as to when he would be able to play again.
"I couldn't give you a timetable because I really haven't experienced this before," he said.
But Girardi had said in his pregame news conference that Jeter had acknowledged he would not be able to play for at least a week.
"If you talk to Derek, he'd say he'd like to try it tomorrow," Girardi said. "But he understands it's at least going to take a week."
The injury puts Jeter's pursuit of membership in the 3,000-hit club off until at least June 29 -- three days past his 37th birthday -- and diminishes his chances of achieving the milestone at home. On June 29, the Yankees will play the second game of a three-game series at home against the Milwaukee Brewers, and then head off on a six-game road trip, three at CitiField against the Mets and three against the Indians in Cleveland.
"Well, I guess the timing wasn't very good," said Jeter, who had singled in the first inning Monday night to pull within six hits of 3,000. "It's frustrating but even if I wasn't at this point I'd still be frustrated. I don't like not to play. Whether I'm going for 3,000 hits or 100 hits, it really doesn't make a difference to me. I'd rather be out there playing. I'm disappointed because I feel a lot of people are looking forward to getting the opportunity to see it, especially here this week. I feel bad for that. But hopefully in time that day will come."
Jeter is batting .260 with two home runs and 20 RBIs this season. His on-base percentage is .324.
Meanwhile, catcher Russell Martin was not in the lineup Tuesday for the sixth time in seven games. He's been nursing a stiff back and was pulled from Monday night's lineup about an hour before the start. Martin said he could play if needed.
"I only need to feel a little bit better because I don't feel that bad," Martin said.
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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