Derek Jeter’s pursuit of 3,000 hits has officially reached the serious stage. The specially-marked baseballs have arrived.
Jeter went 2-for-6 Tuesday night in Cleveland and is now four hits shy of becoming the first player to amass 3,000 hits as a Yankee. He enters Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Indians with 2,996 career base-hits.
Yankee fans should, of course, be familiar with the specially-marked baseball ritual. They witnessed it when Alex Rodriguez was at 499 home runs seeking his 500th and 599 home runs seeking the 600th of his career.
Once Jeter get to 2,999 hits, each time he steps to the plate the home plate umpire will be handed a batch of baseballs specially marked for the occasion. The brief, but obvious, switcheroo always seemed to bug Rodriguez. We will have to see what it does to Jeter.
Could Jeter get the magic 3,000th hit Wednesday night against the Indians? Well, if manager Joe Girardi lets him play then it is a possibility. Girardi, though, has reportedly been making noises about giving the Yankee Captain and shortstop the night off, fearing pushing him too hard after his stint on the disabled list with a calf strain.
If he plays, though, the 3,000th hit could happen. Jeter has gotten four hits in games twice this season.