The Yankees' minor league facility in Tampa is mostly inaccessible to the media, so it's hard to get rehab information about major league players. Today we have an update on the status of Derek Jeter, who has been on the shelf ever since suffering a re-break in his already broken ankle.
Jeter is working out, taking grounders and swinging a bat. Today he took 25 dry swings, fielded 20 ground balls hit directly at him, and played long toss from 180 feet away. He has an appointment on Thursday with Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed the initial surgery, and a good prognosis could allow him to take the next step in his rehab. From there he could start running the bases, fielding ground balls to either side of his body, take batting practice, and eventually get into a game.
This is still all a long way away, but the promise of a return is just on the horizon. Jeter still won't be back until after the All-Star Break, though no specific date has been mentioned. I'm skeptical that he will be able to come back this year at all, but he's definitely needed. Eduardo Nunez has hit terribly this season, but has been on the DL with an oblique strain for a month after having two setbacks. Jayson Nix and Reid Brignac have become the only options at shortstop this season and have provided -0.5 WAR for the position, the fourth worst in the majors.
It's hard to know what a 39-year-old Derek Jeter with a bionic ankle can give this team, but he should be an upgrade at the plate if not in the field. If the Yankees are holding out hope that Jeter will return and be the same player he always is, then they have to have a backup plan if he can't come back, or can't play the field. Maybe it's time they sought some legitimate outside help.
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