Originally posted on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 7/11/13

The captain is back. Derek Jeter reached first base with an infield single on his first pitch following a nine-month long layoff from surgery, immediately testing his healed left ankle Thursday afternoon in the first inning of the New York Yankees' series finale against the Kansas City Royals. Jeter didn't acknowledge the cheering fans as he made his long-awaited return. He turned on a 95 mph fastball from Ervin Santana and sent a three-hopper up the third-base line that fell from Miguel Tejada's throwing hand. Fans chanted "De-rek Je-ter! De-rek Je-ter!" as the 39-year-old shortstop ran up the line well past first base, then returned to the bag. The ankle got tested more when he raced to third on Robinson Cano's single up the middle and came home without a throw on Vernon Well's sacrifice fly to right. Your browser does not support iframes. Jeter was the designated hitter and batted second in his first big league game since he broke his left ankle during the AL championship series opener Oct. 13. He said after the initial injury he would return by opening day, then fractured the ankle again in April during his rehabilitation and missed the first 91 games of the season. He played four rehab-games for the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders until Wednesday. Late Wednesday night, general manager Brian Cashman called Jeter in Scranton and said come to New York. Brett Gardner and Travis Hafner each suffered minor contusions during Wednesday's 8-1 win over the Royals and are considered day to day, but the short-handed bench prompted Cashman to summon Jeter from the Minors. "It was an obvious situation where, 'Hey, he could DH today in Scranton or he could DH today in New York,'" Cashman said. "We'd might as well bring him in and DH him in New York." Jeter was not introduced at Yankee Stadium by Bob Sheppard's recording in his first at-bat but the old familiar intro was used when Jeter walked up to the plate in the second-inning before he grounded out. Welcome back.

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