Derek Jeter has taken to the field for a full week now and even hit in the batting cage Monday for the first time since breaking his ankle last October. The Yankees shortstop took 55 grounders — but doesn't move move laterally — and said his left ankle is healing right on schedule. He expects to be ready by Opening Day on April 1.
"Everything's been good, everything's right where it needs to be," said Jeter. "The goal is April 1, that's when we start our season. I'm progressing, right where I need to be."
While Jeter was upbeat and open about his rehab, one issue the Captain would not discuss is the recent allegation of PED use by Alex Rodriguez — until his teammate talked about it first.
"Let him speak first," said Jeter, true to his m.o. "Everybody knows that. I don't comment on anyone until they speak first, so let him address his situation before I comment on it."
Jeter did say he was happy about playing with the Yankees newest acquisition, Travis Hafner, and probably wouldn't play in the team's first spring training game on Feb. 23.
"I guess I'd have to sit down with our trainers and doctors to see what their plan is in terms of when I start playing games," Jeter said. "You've got to progress and I've been progressing just fine.
"Once everything is where it's supposed to be, you just get in baseball shape, which doesn't take that long, I don't think."
Jeter is only taking grounders directly head-on and— unlike his answer to the A-Rod question — isn't moving side-to-side on the field just yet.
Jeter even joked about his 2014 contract option — which will be hanging over his head throughout the 2013 season."
"Next year?" Jeter said. "No. I'm trying to make it through this week, so, no, I'm not thinking about next year."