MOOSIC - Maybe Derek Jeter liked his last excursion through Scranton/Wilkes-Barre so much, he couldn’t help taking another trip there.
More likely, that destination is becoming the place to be for rehabbing New York Yankee stars.
Whatever the reason, Jeter will make his second rehab appearance of the season with the Triple-A RailRiders starting with tonight’s 7:05 game with Pawtucket and is expected to hang around with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre possibly through Saturday.
And that’s encouraging news to a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team that missed out on drawing some prime Yankees players who were working their way back to the big leagues at other levels of the organization in the past.
Former Yankees ace Roger Clemens made a rehab start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2007 — the inaugural season of the team’s affiliation with New York. And ex-Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang made a rehab appearance in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010.
But the following season, both Jeter and Andy Pettitte played their final minor league rehab games for Double-A Trenton before returning to the Yankees, by-passing Scranton/Wilkes-Barre altogether.
Both Jeter and Alex Rodriguez spent rehab stints with the RailRiders over the past six weeks, suggesting a stronger relationship between the Yankees and their Triple-A affiliate.
“It just shows how much we’re a true partnership,” RailRiders general manager Rob Crain said, “in all facets of the word. We’re very appreciative of it and very ecstatic to have Derek for a second time.”
The first time around didn’t go so well for the Yankees icon.
Trying to recover from a fractured ankle he originally sustained during last season’s American League Championship Series and then re-injured in spring training, Jeter went 1-for-9 with four walks in four games with the RailRiders from July 6 through 10.
He rejoined the Yankees the next day, and immediately suffered a strained quad. When he returned from that, Jeter suffered a Grade 1 calf strain that he’s still trying to recover from as he plays his first game since that injury tonight with the RailRiders.
A lifetime .313 major league hitter, 13-time All-Star and certain future Hall of Fame shortstop, Jeter is just 4-for-19 with one homer after playing less than a week’s worth of games for the Yankees this season.
After Jeter left the RailRiders, A-Rod followed him there for a four-game stretch from July 17 to 21 before joining the Yankees for the first time this year following offseason hip surgery.
Both of New York’s big-name infielders drew bigger crowds to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s revamped PNC Field, something the RailRiders can prepare for again tonight.
“We change some things,” Crain said. “We add some security. We add some staff, both us (in the public relations department) and in concessions. We’ll open the gates 15 minutes earlier Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We do take extra measures to get people in quickly.”