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Jeter Returns, Suffers ‘Quad Tightness’

Derek Jeter's long-awaited return was marred by tightness to his quadriceps.

Derek Jeter’s long-awaited return was marred by tightness to his quadriceps.

The New York Yankees received a boost Thursday afternoon as club captain Derek Jeter returned to the lineup for the first time since October. Any relief the organization and Yankee fans may have felt was short-lived though, as the 39-year-old reported tightness in his quad following the game.

Making his first appearance since breaking his ankle in the opening game of last year’s American League Championship Series, Jeter went 1 for 4 at the plate, scoring a run and knocking in an RBI as the Yankees downed the Kansas City Royals 8-4.

20130712-ALEastTaking on designated hitter duties and hitting from the No. 2 spot in the lineup, the 19-year veteran beat out a single with his first swing of the bat before scoring on Vernon Wells’ sacrifice fly in the first inning. After grounding out in the second, he was robbed of a single in the fifth inning as Royals’ second baseman Johnny Giavotella made an impressive diving stop. Jeter hit into a third groundout in the sixth but this time he notched his first RBI of the season, scoring Luis Cruz, one of the Yankees that has been charged with spelling Jeter at shortstop this season.

While there was plenty for Yankee fans to get excited about, a dark cloud once again hovered over the club. Brett Gardner pinch hit for the captain in the eighth inning before Jeter held a press conference following the game.

Jeter reported that he felt tightness in his right quad following his groundout in the fifth. He will require an M.R.I. scan before he can return to the field.

“It’s not frustrating yet,” he informed the media after the game. “We’ll see. They M.R.I. everything around here, so, they want me to get an M.R.I. and find out. I hope it’s not a big deal.”

The Yankees could do without any more injuries.

The Yankees could do without any more injuries.

While tightness in the quad doesn’t rate high on the list of ailments team doctors, trainers and general managers fear, the Yankees’ health this season has Steve Donahue and Brian Cashman in a state of perpetual unease. In addition to Jeter, the Yankees have been without Francisco Cervelli, Curtis Granderson, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis for much of – if not all – of the season, which has had a huge impact on both the clubs’ hitting and pitching.

Depending on the results of the M.R.I., Jeter may be able to play against the Minnesota Twins on Friday (7:05 p.m. ET). It’s unlikely that he’ll resume the shortstop position though as was originally the plan. Cashman and the Yankee’s front office had originally stated Jeter would not return to the club until he had played back-to-back games at shortstop for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Injuries to Gardner and Travis Hafner in Wednesday’s 8-1 victory over the Royals changed that plan. Gardner pinch hit for Jeter in Thursday’s matinee game. Hafner did not appear.

Hiroki Kuroda (7-6, 2.77 ERA) will start for the Yankees (50-42, 27-21 home) on Friday night. The right-hander began the season 6-2 but has gone 1-4 since, recording four no decisions in the process. While the record may suggest otherwise, Kuroda has pitched very well this season.

Kuroda has successfully traversed the sixth inning in 14-of-18 games and has not been beaten by more than three runs. Essentially, he has been hindered by the Yankees’ lack of run production. Never was this clearer than in his last outing, a home game against the Baltimore Orioles on July 7. In seven full innings, Kuroda pitched a shutout, allowing just three hits and one walk. The Yankees went on to lose the game 2-1. He’ll hope that the offense that has scored eight runs on consecutive days will show up Friday night.

Hiroki Kuroda will hope for some offensive support Friday.

Hiroki Kuroda will hope for some offensive support Friday.

Minnesota (37-52, 16-29 road) will send Scott Diamond (5-8, 5.52 ERA) to the mound for the series opener. Diamond has struggled for much of the season, and has lost four of his last six starts. He has only made it beyond the sixth inning six times in 16 attempts, and only twice in the last 11 games. The Twins’ bullpen could be busy again Friday night.

Diamond’s last start saw him give up six earned runs, including three home runs, on eight hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. The left-hander is 0-1 in two career starts against the Yankees. He took the hill in a 10-4 loss at Target Field on July 1, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, leaving the game without a decision.

The Yankees swept the Twins in a four-game series last week in Minnesota. In addition to napping a five-game losing streak, the sweep also made up part of a season-high six-game winning streak for the Yankees.

After this weekend’s series the two clubs will not meet again this season.

Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees odds for 7/12/13 are available now.

The Yankees (-205) opened as a decisive favorite over the Twins (+190) on the moneyline, although bookmakers have reeled things in slightly. BetOnline currently has the Yankees at -187.

Of course, with the Yankees sweeping last week’s series in Minnesota and playing at home is leading most to back Joe Girardi’s club.

The over/under opened at 9.

Both New York (36-49-7) and Minnesota (40-47-2) have favored the under this season but bettors should be wary of following this trend; three of the four meetings between the clubs last week saw the  total go over.

AL East Roundup

Pedroia and theBoSox face a tough weekend.

Pedroia and theBoSox face a tough weekend.

After dropping the opener against the Seattle Mariners on Monday, the Boston Red Sox (57-37, 26-21 road) made it three wins on the bounce with an 8-7 victory on Thursday. It took extra innings but the Sox will have momentum heading into a tough weekend series with the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics (54-38, 28-14 home). Get all the betting info you need right here.

A 4-3 win over the Twins on Wednesday afternoon saw the Tampa Bay Rays (53-40, 32-18 home) sweep the series and run their current winning streak up to eight games. That’s now 12 wins in the last 13 games. Joe Maddon’s side will have a good chance of padding those numbers as the club begins a three-game set with the Houston Astros (32-59, 15-27 road) on Friday. That being said, Houston was the last team to beat the Rays. Click here for the latest odds and trends.

The Baltimore Orioles (51-42, 27-19 home) will host divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays (44-47, 19-26 road) this weekend. The Orioles defeated the Texas Rangers on Thursday to gain a split of the series. The Jays lost 4-2 to Cleveland, dropping the series 2-1. Toronto owns a 6-4 advantage over the Orioles in the season head-to-head. More trends and odds are available on the matchup page.

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