The already limping Yankees were further depleted in the first game after the All-Star break on Friday night when they lost 4-2 to Boston to fall seven games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox.
"You just deal with it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "No one is going to feel sorry for us."
The Yankees fell behind 3-0 when starter Andy Pettitte gave up homers to Jacoby Ellsbury and Johnny Gomes. And they were ill-equipped to come back when Gardner and Almonte left the game and joined already injured starters Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Francisco Cervelli.
"It happens to every team, every year. Injuries are a part of it," Jeter said before the game. "I'd be lying to you if I said it wasn't kind of odd the way things have been happening. You get guys back, they get hurt again. The number of guys is something that I haven't seen here since I've been here, but other teams have to deal with it, too."
The Yankees placed their captain on the 15-day DL with a strained right quadriceps that he injured in his first game back last week after being out all season with a broken left ankle. Jeter rejected the possibility that he returned too soon from the injury he sustained in last year's playoffs.
"I don't think that's the case," he told reporters before the series opener on Friday. "I was ready to come back; I came back; I was running fine. This happened, but this happens to guys who go through full spring trainings and play a lot of games."
The Yankees had waited to make a decision, using the four days of the All-Star break for the shortstop to receive treatment. Jeter said he had hoped to play against the Red Sox, but he hadn't tested his leg in anything close to a game environment.
"Right now, it's fine. But I haven't run," he said. "I'm pretty sure they'll make me run before they have me play."
Jeter, 39, broke his left ankle in the opener of the AL championship series last October, then spent the winter and the first 3 1/2 months of the season getting back to the field. After just four rehabilitation games, the Yankees pushed up his return after Gardner and Travis Hafner got hurt.
Jeter had been telling the team he was ready to return, and general manager Brian Cashman said he received positive reports from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Jeter returned to a huge ovation and beat out an infield hit on the first pitch he saw in the majors this year.
But he left the game against Kansas City on July 11 in the eighth inning when his quad tightened in his third at-bat.
"I don't think they trust me too much anymore," he said at Fenway Park.
Jeter said at the time he hoped the strain was "not a big deal." He missed the weekend series against Minnesota and hoped to avoid the DL.
"It's frustrating. I've spent a lot of time trying to get my ankle right and get back on the field, which I did," he said Friday. "Finally, when that was good to go, something else happens. These things happen. I've played entire spring trainings and pulled a muscle at the end. I think a lot of times people want to try to tie one to the other. It's not necessarily the case."
The Yankees also signed infielder Brent Lillibridge from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Jeter joins Teixeira (wrist surgery), outfielder Granderson (broken pinkie) and catcher Cervelli (broken hand), who have been hurt and then had setbacks or second injuries.
Teixeira returned briefly before season-ending surgery. Cervelli developed a stress reaction and is shut down for now. Granderson broke his forearm in his first at-bat in spring training only to be hit again after eight games back.
Despite all the injuries, the Yankees were 51-44 at the All-Star break, six games behind first-place Boston but in fourth in the AL East. They were three games out of the last wild-card spot.
Granderson has resumed taking on-field batting practice at the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., and says he is "working on repetition" with his swing. Team officials have said Granderson could be back early next month.
Infielder Jayson Nix, sidelined by a strained right hamstring, got six at-bats during a simulated game in Tampa. He's started 40 games at shortstop and 24 games at third base this season for the Yankees.
Rodriguez is playing with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, likely the final stop in his rehabilitation from left hip surgery before he returns to the Yankees as early as Monday.
"From everything I understand, he feels good," Jeter said. "I think he's going to help us."