TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Derek Jeter is ready to return to the New York Yankees.
Jeter went 1 for 2 with a bunt single, a walk and a throwing error in six innings Sunday night in his second rehab start with Double-A Trenton as he looks to return from a right calf strain.
The Yankees captain, named to his 12th All-Star team earlier Sunday, needs six more hits to become the 28th major leaguer to reach 3,000. He is batting .260 in 62 games this season.
He likely will continue his quest for 3,000 on Monday in Cleveland. Asked after Sunday’s game if he’d be playing Monday, Jeter replied, “Yup.”
“It feels good,” Jeter said of his calf. “I’m looking forward to getting back and helping the team to continue to play well.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who watched both games in Trenton, said Jeter would be in the Yankees’ lineup against the Indians.
“He’s good to go,” Cashman said. “I haven’t talked to (Yankees manager) Joe (Girardi) about it but he’s ready to go. He’ll play tomorrow.”
Jeter couldn’t say whether he’ll play in the All-Star game on July 12, but he said he was “surprised” by his selection.
“I learned a long time ago not to pay much attention to the voting because things go up and down,” he said. “Anytime you get an opportunity to be selected to an All-Star team, especially by the fans, it shows they appreciate how you play the game. It’s an honor. I’ve said that over and over again.”
Cashman said he thought Jeter should play.
“He’s healthy so he should play,” he said. “If we can send him to Cleveland, he can play three innings in an All-Star game.”
Jeter, the Yankees’ all-time hits leader, was placed on the disabled list June 13. The 37-year-old was eligible to come off the DL last Wednesday, but didn’t because of his slow recovery. He has missed 18 games — and the Yankees are 14-4 without him.
In the first inning Sunday, Jeter led off with a walk after working a full count. He couldn’t have asked for a better test of his calf after reaching first. Ray Kruml lined a ball off the glove of Altoona shortstop Brock Holt.
Jeter initially retreated to first base, thinking Holt was going to catch it, then had to quickly change directions and sprint to second after the ball reached center. Then, a heads-up Jeter raced to third when center fielder Starling Marte misplayed the ball.
It appeared that Jeter’s gait was a bit uneasy from that point whenever he walked. There wasn’t a limp, but he seemed to be slightly favoring his right calf.
Jeter, however, said there was no problem.
“I didn’t feel a thing,” he said. “I wouldn’t tell you guys that anyway. I really didn’t (feel pain).”
Cashman concurred with his star shortstop.
“He’s officially healthy now,” he said. “He’s all good.”
In the second, Jeter struck out swinging on three pitches to end the inning and strand runners on second and third.
In the fifth, with runners on first and second, Jeter bunted for a base hit, perfectly placing the ball to the left of the pitcher’s mound and in front of charging third baseman Greg Picart, resulting in no throw to first.
Defensively, Jeter had four assists on five chances, making a throwing error in the fifth. Starling Marte led off the fifth with a slowly hit grounder to Jeter’s right. Jeter cleanly fielded it but his throw to first bounced in the dirt and off the glove of first baseman Rob Lyerly. He followed that up with a nice play, ranging all the way over to the first-base side of second to field Brock Holt’s grounder before throwing Holt out at first.
Jeter started a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play in the first, charging Matt Curry’s slow bouncer before flipping to second baseman Jose Pirela, the Thunder’s usual shortstop, who threw on to first. Pirela was moved to second on Sunday by manager Tony Franklin, who wanted to give Pirela a chance to play alongside Jeter.
Jeter was tested again in the second when Picart lined the ball up the middle. Jeter ranged hard to his left and although the ball popped off his glove, he recovered for the forceout at second.
With rain coming down, Jeter didn’t come out to play the field in the seventh inning.
Jeter began his two-game rehab stint in Trenton on Saturday by going 1-for-2 with a walk and run scored while perfectly handling all five defensive chances in five innings. Afterward, he pronounced himself healthy, saying “I feel good, there are no problems whatsoever.”
For the second straight day there was a circus-like atmosphere at Waterfront Park during Jeter’s pregame preparation, as hundreds of fans lined the first few rows to get a glimpse of the 12-time All-Star bat and field ground balls.
Jeter obliged the excited fans, some of whom brought homemade signs, by signing autographs for nearly 15 minutes following his pregame work.