Jeter out until Friday at earliest
DL stint unlikely; possible A-Rod shift depends on severity
KANSAS CITY -- Derek Jeter will not play shortstop for the Yankees before this weekend at the earliest. Could Alex Rodriguez?
Manager Joe Girardi said on Tuesday that the Yankees have not discussed using Rodriguez at shortstop while Jeter mends his strained upper left quadriceps, but the idea has not been explicitly ruled out, depending on how much action Jeter is expected to miss.
"It would definitely be a challenge," Rodriguez said. "If Joe thinks that would be the best combination, I would let it fly."
In the meantime, utility man Wilson Betemit was in the lineup to start at shortstop on Tuesday as the Yankees opened a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium. Rodriguez, as he has for most of the time since joining the Yankees, started at third base.
"We're just thinking about [that] he's been our third baseman the last few years; he's comfortable playing third," Girardi said. "I don't see it being a problem, him not being comfortable playing short, but that's why we have Wilson. If someone goes down in the middle infield for a couple of days, that's why we have him."
Jeter felt the injury tug at his leg muscle while he attempted to beat out a double-play ball in the first inning on Monday at Yankee Stadium. He remained in the game, later scoring on Bobby Abreu's home run and playing one more half-inning at shortstop.
Jeter had his upper left leg wrapped in ice before Tuesday's game and spent time in the trainer's room, but he said of the pain: "It's not bad at all."
Girardi said that the Yankees do not expect to have to place Jeter on the 15-day disabled list, but the captain is not likely to play in the series against the Royals. New York travels to Boston for the clubs' first meeting of the regular season on Friday, the earliest Jeter would play.
"It's hard to say," Girardi said. "He probably won't play in this series, and we'll shoot for the Red Sox series. We'll see where he's at after a couple of days and try to make a real evaluation. ... We feel that it's not going to be two weeks. We're hoping sometime in the Boston series he'll be ready, but we'll have to see how he progresses."
If Jeter's absence is just three games, the Yankees feel as though they would be able to get by. Girardi said that if the span extends to seven or eight days, the team would probably make a move, with Triple-A shortstop Alberto Gonzalez the likeliest callup.
"It's part of the game," Girardi said. "There's times you're going to be shorthanded. You've just got to do the best you can."
Girardi said that he had not spoken with Rodriguez about the possibility of playing shortstop, which he incidentally has done before as a Yankee -- Rodriguez played two innings there in 2004 and another six innings in 2005.
Rodriguez, a two-time American League Gold Glove Award winner at shortstop with the Rangers in 2002 and '03, has also not volunteered for a temporary position switch, Girardi said.
"Obviously, we throw around a lot of different ideas, but that's not really something we've discussed," Girardi said.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.