Even the highest payroll in baseball couldn't prepare the New York Yankees for what they face now -- playing without leader Derek Jeter for at least a month.
Jeter was placed on the 15-day disabled list today after dislocating his left shoulder on Opening Day. The Yankees expect to be without their all-star shortstop for much longer, and it could be up to four months if he needs surgery.
"We miss him when he's out of the lineup for one game," Manager Joe Torre said. "To have him out for an extended period of time, we're lucky we haven't had that happen before. This will probably be a month or more. There will be a big void."
Jeter will fly with the team to Tampa after Wednesday night's game and have an MRI exam on Thursday. The Yankees, who will open a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday, hold spring training in Tampa and have extensive facilities there.
The test will show the extent of the damage and whether Jeter needs surgery, said Jonathan Glashow, a shoulder specialist.
"The worst case should be three to four months and with any luck it could be four to six weeks," said Glashow, an orthopedic surgeon at New York's Lenox Hill Hospital. "The MRI will show how stable the shoulder is and how much damage was done to the surrounding area."
The Yankees were more comfortable having their doctors in Florida examine Jeter than having tests in Toronto.
"I don't think it really makes a difference if we do it now or Thursday," Jeter said. "I want to find out. Obviously, something is wrong, because something is out of place. Something probably has to be torn."
Erick Almonte will get most of the time at shortstop while Jeter is hurt, although Enrique Wilson started at shortstop Tuesday. Almonte was called up from the Class AAA Columbus Clippers today.
Jeter hurt his shoulder in the third inning Monday night when he slid headfirst going from first to third on an infield groundout.
Toronto Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby, covering third because of an overshifted infield, landed on Jeter's shoulder in a violent collision. Jeter was down for more than 10 minutes, writhing in pain as concerned teammates surrounded him.
Some of the Yankees thought it was a dirty play. Huckaby called it a "freak" play and left a message on Jeter's cell phone, apologizing.
Torre said Huckaby was just being aggressive, and Jeter said he wasn't sure whether the catcher could have avoided the collision.
"I'm just angry I'm going to miss a long time. I'm not happy about it," Jeter said. "I've never done this before. I have no idea how long it will take."
With a payroll of about $150 million -- at least $30 million higher than any other team and more than double what most teams pay -- the Yankees usually have the depth to overcome injuries.
They have seven starting pitchers, an experienced closer in Juan Acevedo to step in when Mariano Rivera hurt his groin, and many players on the bench who were starters elsewhere.
At shortstop, the Yankees aren't as deep. Jeter, a five-time all-star, has been the Yankees' leader during their run of four World Series titles and five AL pennants since 1996.