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October is missing its biggest star

Derek Jeter writhes in pain after fracturing his left ankle during Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday. The Yankees captain is out for the rest of the playoffs.

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Derek Jeter writhes in pain after fracturing his left ankle during Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday. The Yankees captain is out for the rest of the playoffs.

NEW YORK — A player stood at shortstop at Yankee Stadium, yet the shortstop was missing.

For 16 years and 158 consecutive games, Derek Jeter had been in the Yankees' postseason lineup, the Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken of October.

"When you think of postseason, you think of Derek Jeter," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

And now Jeter was absent for Game 2 of the AL Championship Series on Sunday, off being tested a day after his left ankle cracked. Taking the captain's place was Jayson Nix, who went 0-for-3.

Trailing the Tigers one game to none after Saturday's 6-4, 12-inning loss, the Yankees faced the troublesome task of regrouping without their longtime leader.

First Mariano Rivera, whose knee tore during batting practice in May. Then Jeter. Not since Game 6 of the 1981 World Series had New York played in the postseason without both.

"We had to move on from a lot of different things this year," manager Joe Girardi said. "We've lost the greatest closer of all time, where people left us for dead. People left us for dead in August and September, said we were panicking. And we laughed at it, and we said no, we're going to be fine. We won more games in the American League than anyone."

Jeter, 38, has been as much a part of Yankee Stadium as the pinstripes, monuments and 27 World Series banners. Not since rookie Mickey Mantle's knee buckled during Game 2 of the 1951 World Series had such an integral part of the team gotten hurt so severely during a postseason game.

Jeter had scans Sunday, which confirmed the fracture. He was in a splint and on crutches and will soon see foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. Jeter will not accompany the Yankees to Detroit, and his recovery is expected to take three months.

Jeter texted Nix, hoping he would produce in this unexpected opportunity.

"He just said good luck," said the understudy, thrust into a lead role. "He said he believes in me, and go get 'em."

October is missing its biggest star 10/14/12 [Last modified: Sunday, October 14, 2012 11:12pm]
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