"He will not play tomorrow," Girardi said, "no matter what he tells me."
So the immediate future for Jeter remains unclear. Originally straining his left quad on Sunday afternoon, 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. He remained in the game, later scoring on Bobby Abreu's home run and playing one more half-inning at shortstop.
Jeter didn't join his teammates, however, when they took the field in the top of the third. Wilson Betemit moved from first base to shortstop to accommodate Jeter's departure, and Morgan Ensberg entered the game to take Betemit's place at first.
"I didn't aggravate it, but I didn't really push it," Jeter said. "I felt something, so I didn't want to be stupid. Hopefully, it won't be too long."
An MRI taken during Monday's game revealed nothing more than a strain, and Jeter spent the rest of the evening icing his quad from the clubhouse. Batting .208 with three runs scored this season, Jeter had started at shortstop in each of the team's first seven games. He hasn't missed more than eight games in any season since 2003.
Girardi, though expressing ample caution, said he did not expect his shortstop to miss significant time this year, either, and that a spell on the disabled list shouldn't be necessary. The Yankees did not immediately make a roster move to shore up their middle infield, instead tentatively naming Betemit their starting shortstop for Tuesday.
Should Jeter indeed miss a sizeable chunk of time, a new set of decisions would face Girardi, and the prospect of sliding third baseman Alex Rodriguez over to shortstop, he confirmed, would be among them. Not that he's considering anything just yet.
"There are a lot of different scenarios that we would talk about as a club and decide what we're going to do," Girardi said. "But right now, we're just keeping our fingers crossed, thinking it won't be too long."
Should Jeter have his way, it won't be too long at all. Yet with temperatures dipping into the 40s in New York on Monday night, and weather reports predicting a similar chill in Kansas City this week, caution might reign. Just the fact that Jeter came out of Monday's game pointed to the injury's severity, so there's little reason for the Yankees to rush.
"Usually, you have to drag him out," Girardi said. "He's always been a tough kid, and he wants to be out there. No matter how his body feels, he wants to be out there. But with these conditions, you jeopardize really hurting yourself badly, and we don't want that because we can't afford to miss him for a long period of time."