TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Derek Jeter briskly cut across the diamond, heading to a familiar spot for the first pitch. Clearly, he was eager to get going.
``It's been a while,'' the New York Yankees' captain said.
The 38-year-old shortstop played the field Wednesday night for the first time since breaking his left ankle in the AL championship opener last October. It was totally routine - he easily turned a grounder into a forceout, the only play he got in four innings of a 6-2 win over Philadelphia.
``It was good. It was good to be out there again,'' he said. ``Not too much happened.''
No missteps, either. With his parents watching from the stands, Jeter dashed from first to third on a single by Ichiro Suzuki, jogged on and off the field without a problem and then pronounced himself fine as he prepares for the season opener against Boston.
``It was a good starting point,'' he said. ``The goal is April 1.''
Known for his cool, Jeter admitted he was a bit nervous taking the field. That's normal, he said, a feeling any player might get before handling his first grounder or hitting for the first time.
``I think you'll see a comfort zone come over him the more he's out there,'' manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi certainly liked what he saw with No. 2 in the middle of things.
``It just seems right when he's out there,'' he said.
Jeter said the main thing was that he felt good, aside for general soreness around the injury that comes with the territory. He said he wasn't worried that his ankle will break again.
``It's just getting used to doing things without thinking about it,'' he said.
Jeter certainly looked and sounded like his usual self. He chatted with umpires between innings, kidding with Ben Revere after the Phillies speedster stole a base and keeping up a steady dialogue with starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, his longtime teammate.
``He was mouthin' the whole time,'' Pettitte said.
Added Pettitte: ``It was good to have him out there, it's always good to see him out there.''
Jeter had little action in the field. Until his lone play in the fourth, the closest he came was on a grounder that third baseman Kevin Youkilis cut in front of him to field.
``I had that one, too,'' Jeter said.
Jeter, who had twice been the designated hitter this spring, went 0 for 2 with a walk. Girardi said soon he will start playing Jeter in a back-to-back games with opening day less than three weeks away.
Girardi joked before the game that he'd put some limitations on Jeter.
``No cartwheels. He can't do what Ozzie Smith does. No cartwheels, no back flips. That's it,'' he said.
Instead, Girardi hoped for progress toward the regular season.
``There's two things that I think is important. A, he can move around where he doesn't feel like the injury is hindering him. And B, doesn't hurt. That he can bounce back day-to-day without him feeling something in his ankles,'' he said.
``So, if he can get over those two hurdles in the next 2 1-2, three weeks, whatever, he's a player,'' he said.

Top MLB Public Bets

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail World Series opener pits Lester vs. Kluber Two title-starved organizations are ready to kick off one of the most intriguing World Series matchups we’ve seen in some time.
Thumbnail Kershaw tries to keep visitors' run going The Cubs seized a 3-2 edge in the NLCS by winning Games 4 and 5 in Los Angeles. Will Clayton Kershaw be able to save the Dodgers’...
Thumbnail North Siders' bats rise as NCLS progresses Anthony Rizzo is still batting well below .200 in the playoffs. Yet the Chicago first baseman seems to be heating up at precisely...
Thumbnail Hosts ask Urias to give them 3-1 NLCS edge Tonight, Julio Urias will make history in Game 4 of the NLCS. The Dodgers simply hope that it’s for all the right reasons.
Thumbnail Francona needs relief corps to thrive again The Blue Jays suddenly have life in the NLCS. Now, though, can they truly put fear in the Indians and send the festivities back to northern...
More inMLB Articles  

MLB Team Pages