This has been the strangest of Yankees offseasons.

Players are jumping the Good Ship Pinstripes faster than you can cry: "A-Rod overboard.'' The Yankees are going about their business like a small-market club, not the financial Goliath they have been through the years.

An old staple, though, was back at home last night as Derek Jeter returned to Yankee Stadium for his annual Turn 2 Foundation Holiday Express. He was smiling, looked good and, most important, vowed he would be ready to go Opening Day against the Red Sox April 1 after fracturing his left ankle in the ALCS on Oct. 13.

When I asked Jeter if he expected to be in that lineup, he said, "Yeah. Why not? I did it like seven weeks ago. We still have quite some time before Opening Day. There's no reason why I can't be ready Opening Day.''

Jeter is wearing a walking boot on the left foot. As for when the injury occurred, he admitted, "I played on it for quite some time. I guess I just pushed it a little too much and finally it broke. It's not too often that I go down and stay down. I just couldn't get up, and at that moment I knew that my season was over with. It's tough to deal with, to play the entire season to get in that position, so close to the World Series. It's tough.''

He said he is well on the road to recovery.

"I've been walking out on this boot for about a week, 10 days, so, yeah, it was a tough five or six weeks, pretty much sitting on the couch with your foot elevated, but now I feel as though I am moving around pretty good,'' he said. "I think I'm right where I need to be.''