TORONTO, April 1 (UPI) -- Derek Jeter, a key cog in the New York Yankees' run of seven straight postseason appearances, suffered a dislocated left shoulder Monday night.
He will be sidelined indefinitely, and the Yankees already are bracing for an extended absence, possibly for a minimum for two months.
Even Jeter himself is pessimistic.
"It's going to be a while, I guess," said Jeter, who wore a sling when addressing the media after Monday's game, an 8-4 win at Toronto.
The defending American League East Division champions were dealt the potentially devastating blow when their unofficial captain collided with Toronto catcher Ken Huckaby at third base in the third inning of the season-opening contest at SkyDome.
Jeter was trying to go from first base to third on a groundout by Jason Giambi in the third inning. Huckaby was covering third and landed on Jeter's shoulder after catching the throw from first baseman Carlos Delgado.
"He sort of jumped on me and I felt something pop," Jeter said. "I didn't know if it was broken. They tried to (put it back in place) on the field, but it wouldn't go in, so they eventually did it in the training room."
Following the collision, Jeter immediately began writhing in pain. He remained on his back and was holding the shoulder for 12 minutes as New York players, coaches, and medical staff came onto the field.
Toronto team physician Dr. Ron Taylor and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Erin Boynton addressed the injury before Jeter was carted off the field. He was taken to a hospital for X-rays, which were negative. He is expected to have an MRI in the next few days.
"When it happens, you're kind of scared," Jeter said. "It's pretty painful. It's kind of ironic. I was healthy coming into the season and then something like this happens. It's disappointing."
"I know he was excited about starting the season, the kid loves competition," said New York Manager Joe Torre. "To have this happen, it's just bad luck. This kid never shows any pain. He played with pain I can't tell you how many times, but this was something he couldn't hide."
Jeter doubled and scored in his first at-bat, and walked with one out in the third. He was replaced by Enrique Wilson. He is the team's lone reserve infielder, and likely will take over at shortstop for the next few days.
Entering his eighth season, Jeter has been a cornerstone of the Yankees' recent success, which includes four World Series championships, five American League pennants, and six AL East titles.
The normally durable Jeter has not missed more than 14 games in any of his first seven seasons. He has had more than 190 hits in six consecutive years, and has scored at least 100 runs in seven straight.
Jeter is a career .317 hitter.