Jeter scratched from Yanks’ lineup

Relax, Yankees fans. The captain is OK.

Derek Jeter was removed from New York’s lineup against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday for ”precautionary” reasons because his surgically repaired left ankle feels ”stiff.” He said he might be able to play Wednesday and doesn’t consider this a setback.

”I’m not concerned because I was told this was going to happen,” Jeter said. ”From everything I’ve been told by the doctors, it’s normal.”

The 13-time All-Star shortstop was slated to play his first road game this spring but was scratched after taking batting practice. Jeter broke his left ankle in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers. He played in his first spring game on March 9 and is 3 for 11 so far.

”It’s just stiff, but it’s not in the part that I broke; it’s around it,” Jeter said. ”I was told I’m going to feel it around the ankle because I was in a boot for so long. It takes time to strengthen. It’s normal, just have to deal with it and move on.”

The 38-year-old Jeter led the American League with 216 hits and batted .316 with 15 homers and 58 RBIs last year. Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who described the ankle as "cranky," said Tuesday morning that Jeter might begin the season as a designated hitter against Boston if the Red Sox start a left-handed pitcher.

Jeter, however, still plans to be ready for the opener.

”The luxury is it’s spring training and there’s two weeks left,” Jeter said, adding he doesn’t want Girardi to alter his plan of increasing his playing time the next couple weeks. ”I don’t think you have to scale back anything. I don’t know. I haven’t done this before. It’s a matter of going out, playing and see what happens.”

The Yankees have been beset by injuries.

Third baseman Alex Rodriguez is expected to be sidelined until at least the All-Star break following hip surgery on Jan. 16. Center fielder Curtis Granderson broke his arm in his first exhibition at-bat and is out until May. First baseman Mark Teixeira has a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist could miss two months of the regular season.

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