Jeter started trot a bit too soon

There is a first time for everything, I guess. There was Derek Jeter, the centerpiece of the Yankees’ home opener Monday, jogging to first base after hitting a fly ball to deep left field. I have been watching Jeter play for 20 seasons now, and that was the first time I saw him go into coast mode running to first base.

Granted, the Captain came oh-so close to hitting a home run. The ball hit near the top of the left field wall and caromed to Orioles left fielder David Lough. Jeter had started what appeared to be a home run trot, then had to kick it in gear and make a dash for it to get a double on what was such a bang-bang play that Baltimore manager Buck Showalter came out to argue but did not challenge the call by second base umpire Tim Welke.

Perhaps Jeter learned that seeking that extra gear on the base paths is not that easy when the legs underneath are closing in on 40 years of age. The shortstop who has always run hard to first base no matter where his ball was hit is not likely to make that mistake again.

The double did prove important for the Yankees. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a well-struck single to right-center. Jeter turned on the jets rounding third base and slid into the plate without challenge to give the Yanks a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning. The Yankees added another run that inning on a bases-loaded walk.

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