Jeter insisted afterward it was nothing serious. But all around, it was a frustrating evening for his team.
Not only did Jeter depart during the eighth inning Wednesday night, but the Yankees were left to play down an apparent dustup in the dugout after Freddy Garcia gave up a home run to Magglio Ordonez in a 4-0 loss.
Garcia (1-2) said he was simply upset with himself and the pitch. He was seen shouting, prompting speculation he was angry at catcher Francisco Cervelli.
"I have no reason to be mad at him," Garcia said. "I'm the one throwing the ball. If I don't want to throw the pitch, I don't throw the pitch. We agreed to throw it, and bad things happened."
Garcia pitched seven-plus innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits. He walked two and struck out eight. The pitch to Ordonez was his last big mistake.
Max Scherzer (5-0) allowed four hits and two walks, striking out nine in eight innings.
"He's throwing 97 with movement and a good breaking ball," Jeter said. "He's a challenge. A lot of our hitting is because of who we are facing."
Scherzer struck out every Yankees starter except Curtis Granderson. The right-hander breezed into the eighth inning before finally encountering trouble. After a walk to Brett Gardner and a single by Cervelli, he got Jeter to fly out to shallow right. The speedy Granderson then grounded into a double play.
Jeter then left the game, although he said he thought he could play Thursday afternoon against the Tigers.
"It's not a big deal," Jeter said. "It's not an injury. It's just one of those things that happens throughout the year. It was a little sore and Joe decided to take me out for the ninth."
Manager Joe Girardi said Jeter is day-to-day.
"It's his right hip," Girardi said. "It was grabbing at him a little. I decided to get him out of there."
Girardi said he didn't notice anything amiss with Garcia and his catcher. Cervelli concurred.
"He never was upset," Cervelli said of Garcia. "He didn't tell me anything bad."
Ordonez has been in a prolonged slump to start the year, but he had two hits Wednesday. Detroit has won its last two since a seven-game losing streak.
Scherzer allowed a leadoff single to Jeter in the first, then retired 10 straight hitters, striking out four in a row at one point. Detroit opened the scoring with a run in the second when Victor Martinez, Ordonez and Jhonny Peralta hit consecutive singles.
Martinez was activated Wednesday from the disabled list after being out with a strained right groin.
Detroit scored three runs in the third on an RBI double by Miguel Cabrera and Ordonez's towering home run to left field. Ordonez is still hitting only .188, but he has four hits in his last two games.
The home run was his second extra-base hit of the year.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he didn't let Scherzer finish because the eighth inning was too taxing.
"The eighth inning for Max turned out to be what I call a stressful inning," Leyland said. "If he'd cruised through the eighth — got three outs on five or six pitches — I probably would have sent him out there. But not after the eighth inning."
Cervelli was involved in a strange play in the sixth when Alex Avila stole second. Garcia's pitch was low, and Cervelli had a hard time getting a grip on the ball. When he finally released it, his throw to second was so low it whizzed inches behind Garcia as the pitcher was kneeling at the mound.
"I've got to keep working," Cervelli said. "I almost killed him."
NOTES: Before the game, a few Tigers showed off pink shoes they received from sponsors to wear on Mother's Day this weekend. RHP Rick Porcello had a bright pink pair, with darker pink trim. "I can call my mom and tell her I love her on Mother's Day," Porcello said. "I don't have to wear these shoes." ... Yankees RHP Carlos Silva allowed two runs and three hits over three innings in his first start for Class-A Tampa on Wednesday night. The right-hander was released by the Chicago Cubs during spring training and agreed to a minor league contract with New York on April 9.