CLEVELAND (AP) — On a tradition-filled day, Derek Jeter is back playing shortstop and batting leadoff for the New York Yankees.
It doesn’t get much more fireworks and hot dogs than that.
Sidelined since June 13 with a calf injury, Jeter was activated from the 15-day disabled list Monday to continue his quest to reach 3,000 career hits. Jeter is batting first and playing short in manager Joe Girardi’s starting lineup as the Yankees open a three-game series with the Indians.
The Yankees’ captain, named to his 12th All-Star team on Sunday, needs six more hits to become the 28th major leaguer to reach 3,000. He is batting .260 in 62 games this season. Jeter is also just a few swings from becoming the first player in New York’s storied history to eclipse 3,000 — a distinction that would separate the 37-year-old from all previous pinstriped greats.
Jeter was eligible to come off the DL last week, but needed more time to strengthen his calf. The AL East-leading Yankees went 14-4 without him.
As he dressed before the game, Jeter quietly chatted with former major leaguer Bobby Bonilla, who now works for the players’ union. Alex Rodriguez walked into the Yankees’ clubhouse after getting a haircut and faked being surprised when he walked up to Jeter, who shared a hug with his teammate.
Jeter spent the weekend on a rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton. On Sunday, he went 1 for 2 with a bunt single, a walk and a throwing error in six innings.
If Jeter doesn’t reach 3,000 hits over the next three days in Cleveland, he may have the chance to reach the milestone at Yankee Stadium. New York will open a four-game series with Tampa Bay on Thursday before heading into the All-Star break.