For the seventeenth time this spring, Derek Jeter started at shortstop Wednesday afternoon against the Blue Jays in the Yankees’ 10-6 loss at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. But it was the first instance in which he played shortstop after manning the position the previous night. The subtle challenge was a milepost of sorts for Yankees manager Joe Girardi and the organization’s brain trust, who are depending on Jeter to return from an injury-riddled 2013 season and resume his role as the everyday shortstop, with the occasional DH appearance, in his final major-league season. It did not carry the same weight for Jeter. “No,” Jeter said after a long pause when asked if Wednesday was a significant step. “I mean, I told you guys I’m fine. Maybe it was for him, but for me it was just like a regular game.” From the moment he confirmed his decision to retire at the end of the campaign, Jeter has not deviated from the script this spring. He has insisted that the surgically-repaired right ankle and subsequent ailments are healed and that he was always a routine camp for him. But he also relayed the sentiment last spring, when he was attempting to return five months removed from breaking the right ankle during the postseason and was visibly hampered. He then played in just 17 games over the course of the 2013 season. Upon arriving at camp Jeter immediately displayed greater mobility, in the field and on the base paths, than a year ago. But finding his timing at the plate has admittedly been a challenge. “This spring, right from the get-go, has felt normal with the exception of taking a little longer to get comfortable but that happens from time to time,” conceded Jeter, who will not play Thursday before starting the Yankees' two final Grapefruit League games Friday and Saturday.
Derek Jeter finding his rhythm at the plate as spring training winds down
Newark Star-Ledger | Mar 27