Manager's Note: Longtime YES and MLB.com writer and friend of the Pinstriped Bible Jon Lane filed this from Yankee Stadium tonight. -Tanya
New York Yankees shortstop and captain Derek Jeter made a surprise appearance on the field during batting practice on Wednesday to play catch for the first time since re-fracturing his left ankle in March. He is scheduled for a CT scan in the next week and a half, and hopes to take ground balls in a couple of days and to swing a bat by next week.
A walking boot was removed from Jeter's ankle last Friday and while the Yankees captain couldn't put a timetable on when he will return to the lineup, the goal is to come back as soon as possible.
"I'm not going to put a date on it," Jeter said. "The last time I put a date on it, it didn't work. As soon as I can play, I'll play."
Jeter first broke the ankle late in Game 1 of the ALCS last October and had subsequent surgery. He appeared in a few spring training games, but has been inactive none since March 23 and was placed on the 60-day disabled list on April 27. Until Jeter consults with doctors and receives the results of the pending CT scan, he remains prohibited from running or jumping.
"I'll do exactly what I'm told to do just like last time," Jeter said. "It was a freak incident, I guess, that caused it to break again. I don't know why, no one knows why. I think it wasn't strong enough, but that's just a guess."
Jeter, who has been with the team the past two homestands, has watched the Yankees thrive with him and nine other players currently on the DL. New York is 30-21 and a game behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East, and took its first three-game losing streak of the season into Wednesday's meeting with the New York Mets. Though thin in the infield, the Yankees have received production from rookie David Adams at third base and Jayson Nix at Jeter's shortstop position. Yankee pitching has also been impressive with its cumulative 3.59 ERA ranking second in the American League.
"Everyone was talking about how we're not going to hit home runs, and how we're going to replace this guy and that guy," Jeter said. "If you play good, you're going to win games. It starts with pitching and our pitching staff has done a great job."
Jeter added he expects to be the player he was last season, when he batted .316 and led the AL with 216 hits, and will not need the equivalent of a full spring training. After all, patience isn't one of the Captain's finer attributes.
"I've think I've gotten more patient since I've gotten older, but I'm not very patient," Jeter said. "I'm almost about out of patience."
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