TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Derek Jeter is just about ready to play in the field for the first time this year.
Jeter went 0 for 2 in his second game as a designated hitter since returning from a broken ankle, a 4-0 win for the New York Yankees over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
The Yankees captain was hurt Oct. 13 in the AL championship series opener. Jeter grounded out in the first and hit into a double play in the third. He could play shortstop Wednesday
“That’s the plan as of now,” he said.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi planned to talk with Jeter on Tuesday.
“If he comes out OK, we’re going to throw him in there,” Girardi said.
New York’s Hiroki Kuroda gave up three hits and struck out six in four innings.
“I’m getting there,” Kuroda said through a translator.
Kevin Youkilis hit a fourth-inning solo homer off Lance Lynn, who allowed one run and two hits over four innings.
“Slider that didn’t slide,” Lynn said. “That’s why we’re down here working, trying to make sure that pitch is ready to go for the season. But I threw some good ones early on, so you can’t really harp on the one bad one. Other than that one pitch, I threw the ball pretty well.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had surgery in St. Louis to repair a ruptured disk in his lower back. Bench coach Mike Aldrete is managing the team in his absence.
“I did get a text from him that said he is feeling better, spoke with our medical staff and they’re encouraged by where things are at,” St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said. “I hope to see him by the end of the week back in camp, knowing that he’s going to have to take it slow and be smart about it.”
St. Louis third baseman David Freese played defense for the first since falling into the stands March 4 while attempting to catch a foul ball and landing on his tailbone. Outfielder Matt Holliday, battling flu, didn’t make the trip and worked out at the Cardinals’ complex in Jupiter.
Youkilis, who started at first base for the first time this spring training, also had a sacrifice fly. Signed to fill in for third baseman Alex Rodriguez (hip surgery), Youkilis could see time at first because Mark Teixeira is sidelined until at least May due to a wrist injury.
New York right-hander Phil Hughes threw 27 pitches during his second mound session since being diagnosed with a bulging disk in his upper back three weeks ago. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild did not rule out Hughes being ready for the first week of the regular season.
“Today was a big day,” Hughes said. “Today was like a normal bullpen. I’m pain free. I think that was the biggest thing.”
Hughes, who went 16-13 with a 4.19 ERA over 32 starts last season, is scheduled to throw batting practice Thursday and could follow that with a simulated game. He had a 10-pitch mound session Saturday.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera had a 21-pitch bullpen session and is to make his second appearance on Wednesday. He struck out two during a 1-2-3 inning on Saturday. David Robertson, scratched from his outing last Tuesday because of an achy shoulder, gave up a single during a scoreless sixth.
“Put up a zero, but it was ugly,” Robertson said. “I didn’t have any problems. Felt great.”
Cardinals left-hander Marc Rzepczynski has been cleared to resume limited baseball activities. He had a freak eye injury incurred while golfing on Friday. An object, perhaps a rock or the ball, caromed off a tree and hit Rzepczynski in the eye after he swung at the ball.
“We’re just going to be patient on this because it’s a unique injury and give him a couple more days,” Mozeliak said. “But hopefully by the end of the week, he’s back and able to throw a pen.”
NOTES: New York agreed to a minor league contract with Ben Francisco, who will compete for an extra outfield position. … Gil Velazquez rejoined the Yankees after playing for Mexico, which was eliminated in the first round of the World Baseball Classic. … Weatherman Al Roker worked out with the Yankees before the game, wearing uniform No. 98. He talked baseball with Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and took out the lineup card to the umpires. … New York optioned LHP Francisco Rondon, RHPs Dellin Betances and Brett Marshall, and C Austin Romine to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. LHPs Manny Banuelos and Nik Turley, RHP Jose Ramirez and OF Ramon Flores were optioned to Double-A Trenton. RHP Chase Whitley, C J.R. Murphy and INF Luke Murton were reassigned to the minor league camp.