The image of head athletic trainer Steve Donohue and manager Joe Girardi helping Jeter off the field in the 12th inning will be the enduring image of a 6-4 loss to the Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. Jeter's ankle buckled while he dove for a one-out grounder hit by Jhonny Peralta.
Jeter sent a 90-mph fastball from Doug Fister in the second inning the opposite way for his only hit of the night. Jeter finished the playoffs at .333 (9-for-27) with a double and a triple, playing with bone bruises in his left foot and left ankle before the latter finally gave way to an injury that will keep him inactive for the next three months.
"It's tough to lose any important player," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, "and Derek's obviously been as important as anybody."
It is particularly true in the postseason, during which Jeter has played in more games, accumulated more at-bats and recorded more hits than anybody in Major League history.
The 38-year-old Jeter entered the season with a comfortable lead for Major League Baseball's postseason hits record, with former teammate Bernie Williams in second place with 128. Manny Ramirez is in third place with 117 hits, but he is without a team. The next-closest active player is Albert Pujols, who has 88 playoff hits.
Jeter has played virtually an entire season's worth of playoff games, with Saturday's matchup at Yankee Stadium marking his 158th postseason start -- one game shy of the 159 appearances he made this regular season. He led the Major Leagues with 216 hits this season, recording the eighth 200-plus-hit season of his career.
Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.