Derek Jeter's sore hamstring isn't going to cause the Yankees to worry. Regardless how good his leg feels a week from now, the bigger issue is whether the ailment should prevent him from participating in the World Baseball Classic when USA plays March 7.
Looking at the bigger picture, is this a sign Jeter's body is starting to break down at an age when it becomes increasingly difficult for most players to stay healthy? That is the question the Yankees brass will consider over the coming months, as Jeter's 10-year contract is set to expire after the 2010 season.
Jeter will be 36 at that point and closing in on 3,000 hits. Since he's meant so much to the franchise, the Yankees will likely sign him to some extension so he can reach the milestone in pinstripes. He is 465 hits away and could join Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Robin Yount as the only players in history to get 3,000 hits before his 37th birthday.
If he stays healthy, Jeter could move into first place on the all-time Yankees hit list this year. He needs 187 hits to pass Lou Gehrig (2,721 hits).
Jeter's eventual hit total may very well depend on how he performs in the final two years of his current contract. In order to get a new four-year deal that would take him to age 40, he needs to reverse the downward trend at the plate the last two years.
His batting average: .343 in 2006 to .322 the following season to .300 last year.
On-base percentage: .417, . 388, .363.
Slugging percentage: .483, .452, .408.
Runs: 118, 102, 88.
Stolen bases (with success rate): 34 SB (87.2 percent), 15 (65.2), 11 (68.8).
RBI: 97, 73, 69.