Can things get any worse for the Yankees this spring?

Derek Jeter was scratched from the Yankees lineup Tuesday with stiffness in his surgically repaired left ankle. The Captain said the decision was strictly precautionary and was nothing to worry about, but his removal from the lineup has to be somewhat alarming for the Bombers.

“I’ve had a lot of good days; this is just something that happened today, so hopefully tomorrow it will be a lot better,” Jeter said. “I don’t think it’s a setback.

“I’m not concerned because I was told this was going to happen. Maybe if I wasn’t told this was going to happen then I would be concerned. From everything that I’ve been told from the doctors, this is normal.”

Jeter was sent back to Tampa to see Dr. Daniel Murphy; precautionary X-rays were negative, while an MRI showed mild inflammation in the ankle. The Yankees have listed Jeter as day-to-day.

Jeter was in the original lineup as the starting shortstop and No. 2 hitter, but his ankle began to stiffen up as he stretched with the team before batting practice at Bright House Field. Jeter headed for the dugout and called team trainer Steve Donohue over, then the two retreated to the clubhouse.

Jeter tried to take batting practice, but the ankle “didn’t loosen up,” according to Joe Girardi, who decided to scratch him.

“His ankle is cranky,” Girardi said. “For whatever reason, it’s cranky today, so we’re going to scratch him instead of trying to push through it.”