Derek Jeter knows it’s going to take time to get back from his ankle injury, even though he’d rather be in the Bronx.
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"I want to play. I’m ready to play but I understand I have to play some games here," said Jeter, who finished his first rehab game with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Saturday night going 0 for 2 with a walk.
"But I look forward to getting back as soon as I can."
Jeter broke his ankle in the opener of the AL championship series on Oct. 13 and had surgery soon after. The player who rarely concedes he’s injured vowed to return for opening day but he only played five spring training games because of soreness in the foot. A new break was discovered on April 18.
On Saturday night, the Yankees captain fielded one grounder at shortstop, but showed good movement to his left side on his surgically repaired left ankle.
At the plate, he showed good hustle on his lone groundball attempt and didn’t get to run the bases after his walk, getting stranded at first.
Jeter drew a five-pitch walk leading off the game for the RailRiders against Lehigh Valley left-hander Raul Valdes. He didn’t get a chance to run the bases in the inning as the next three batters struck out.
"I just wanted to see pitches and just get back out there," said Jeter, who will be the RailRiders’ designated hitter in Sunday afternoon’s game against Lehigh Valley. "I pretty much tested (the ankle) down in Florida the last couple weeks. I just have to get used to game situations."
His second plate appearance was in the bottom of the third. After taking a first-pitch ball, he lined out to the second baseman.
In his third plate appearance, he grounded out to third. But the highlight of the at-bat was his hustle getting out of the batter’s box, prompting loud cheers from the crowd.
"It was maybe the only time I got a standing ovation for grounding out," he said. "But it’s been going like that getting cheered every time."
His only assist in the infield came in the top of the fifth with two outs. He moved to his left and flipped the ball under-handed to get a force out at second.
"Next time I go out it might be 10 groundballs," he said. "You never know. I tested it (fielding) a little bit during batting practice."