Derek Jeter has worked hard at rehabbing his surgically repaired left ankle and, after he was told by his doctor that it was "100% healed," the New York Yankees shortstop believes it's time to give it a test run — literally.
Jeter indicated that he doesn't have to run the bases at full speed before appearing in a game but, after getting clearance from his surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson on Thursday, the Captain plans to talk with manager Joe Girardi about making his 2013 spring debut on the field.
"Last time I was there it wasn’t completely healed; now it is," Jeter said, referring to an appointment a week or two before spring training. "It’s always reassuring when someone says something that’s broke is not broke anymore. Now it’s just getting through the normal aches and pains that come around it. As long as you know the break has healed, then the aches and pains, that goes away on its own."
Jeter, who spoke with reporters after facing Andy Pettitte in a simulated game Friday at Steinbrenner Field, didn't elaborate on his spring return and said he would talk with Girardi first about playing Saturday.
"Could be tomorrow, it could be the next day," he said of testing his legs. "But I don't think I have to run them full speed before I play. If you go back to spring trainings in the past, I don't think anyone is running the bases at full speed before the first game. As long as I can get around, then that's fine."
There was some thought that Jeter might put off his debut until Monday because of Mariano Rivera's anticipated retirement announcement Saturday morning, but Girardi claims that won't be a factor in any decision.
"I don't know if Mo would expect him to do that," Girardi said. "We still have a season to get ready for."
Jeter downplayed Thursday's trip to Dr. Anderson's Charlotte, N.C. office.
"He said everything's healed, 100% healed," Jeter said. "It was a scheduled visit. It was scheduled before I started playing games. To get the final OK. There's been a process of a few doctors and tests to see how it was coming along. Last time I went there, it wasn't completely healed, but now it is. I figured it would be. I thought it would be. So that's was what I was expecting . . . He gave me clearance, but I don't know if I needed it.''
If Jeter does see any game action, expect it to only be from the DH spot for a few games before he takes his regular position at shortstop.
Either way, it'll be nice to see one of the Yankees' walking wounded back on the field in some capacity.