October not the same without Yanks’ missing man

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Jeter also texted Nix, hoping he would produce in this unexpected opportunity.

“He just said good luck,” said the understudy, thrust into a lead role. “He said he believes in me, and go get `em.”

This wasn’t the first time Jeter had trouble with his left leg in the last month or so.

Girardi pulled him from a game at Boston on Sept. 12 because of what Jeter said was a sprained ankle. Jeter was a designated hitter for the next four games. Jeter fouled a ball off his left foot in Game 3 of the division series, again was taken out early, and was at DH the next day before returning to shortstop.

Without Jeter, there’s little core left in the Core Four, with only Andy Pettitte still in uniform and Jorge Posada watching from retirement.

Jeter’s injury literally changed the sound at Yankee Stadium, and not just because he caused a collective gasp when he sprawled on his stomach, immobile on the infield dirt.

His ankle broken, yelled out in pain. He also had some words for Girardi when the manager and a trainer rushed out to check him.

“Even when I went to the field and I was going to carry him in, and he said `No, do not carry me.’ That is the kind of guy he is,” Girardi said.

Instead, with one arm draped around Girardi and the other around trainer Steve Donahue, Jeter hobbled off the field on his good ankle as fans chanted his name.

And because Jeter was absent Sunday, so was voice of Bob Sheppard, the public address announcer who died two years ago at age 99. His recording is used to introduce Jeter for all of his at-bats.

Jeter has 200 postseason hits. Nix started Sunday with four postseason at-bats.

Girardi hoped for a repeat from New York’s baseball past _ and not just the Bronx part of town. Light-hitting infielders have made lightning strikes in October.

Bucky Dent brought down Boston when he homered over Fenway Park’s Green Monster in a one-game tiebreaker for the 1978 AL East title. Brian Doyle hit .438 as a replacement for injured Willie Randolph in that year’s World Series

And over in Queens, .219 career hitter Al Weis batted .455 as the 1969 Miracle Mets shocked Baltimore.

Two hours before the game, Girardi spoke of Jeter’s attitude, the one that has pushed the team to five World Series titles since 1996.

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