There are plenty of question marks surrounding the 2014 Yankees, even after spending over $300 million in free agency. They lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners and Alex Rodriguez to a suspension, still need to figure out who will be on the pitching staff, and how they are going to protect against potential injuries. A big loss in 2013 from injury, Derek Jeter has finally begun preparing for the season to come.
Jeter started his on-field workouts on Monday in preparation for his return to baseball in 2014. According to the AP, he "hit off a tee in a batting cage and fielded 108 grounders on the grass in front of the infield dirt Monday at the Yankees minor league complex." Despite all the injuries, from a twice-broken ankle, to a quad pull, to a calf strain, Jeter is resuming baseball activities right on schedule with when he normally begins his pre-season preparation, which wasn't the case for him last year. "It's good to have a normal offseason and get some work in. Everything is normal now," the Yankee captain told reporters.
While the Yankees have him pegged as their starting shortstop, injury concern and age will likely limit the amount of playing time he sees out in the field. It's quite possible that this could be the last season of his Hall of Fame career, so the team will likely be taking it easy on the soon-to-be 40-year-old shortstop. Brendan Ryan was brought in specifically to play backup, and could be around through the 2016 season just in case Jeter decides to keep going.
After a disastrous year that resulted in a mere 17 games played, we're all going to be hoping for a much better season in 2014. He probably shouldn't be the everyday shortstop at this stage in his career, but there's nowhere else to play him. Alfonso Soriano will likely serve as the right-handed platoon partner with Jeter at DH, but it might be beneficial for the captain to get a larger share of those at-bats. We all counted him out in 2012, when he led the league in hits and had one of the best seasons of his career, so maybe magic strikes twice and he amazes us again.