On Friday I asked Derek Jeter if it would be special to pass Paul Molitor for ninth place on the all-time hits list. Jeter was four hits shy of Molitor at the time and I was curious if it would mean anything more to overtake a Hall of Famer against whom he once competed.

As I expected Jeter mostly shrugged off the question saying he only thought about such milestones when reporters asked. He recalled that Molitor was good to him as a young player. But he said of his hit total “It’s the last thing I’m thinking about given the year I’ve had.”

Referring of course to his injuries.

Jeter is consumed with the Yankees winning — that is how he broke his left ankle in the first place trying to play while physically compromised. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman calls him the “king of toughness” for good reason. But now it might be time for Jeter to turn selfish and focus on his recovery even if it means missing the rest of the season.

I say “might” because these decisions are intensely personal and no one least of all a media member should tell Jeter what to do. If he can play he will play — we all know that. But when he has played — at 39 coming off ankle surgery and various other leg issues — Jeter barely has resembled his old self.

His ankle betrayed him again on Saturday. Manager Joe Girardi walked briskly to the far end of the dugout after Jeter recorded Hit No. 3316 an RBI single in the Yankees’ 13-9 loss to the Red Sox. Girardi shouted to get the attention of first-base coach Mick Kelleher and remove Jeter for a pinch-runner. A CT scan after the game was negative but that hardly meant that Jeter was fine.

He has appeared in only 17 games this season. His last full game at shortstop was Thursday. A scout in attendance that night said bluntly “It was tough to watch.”