By Sweeny Murti
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Derek Jeter broke his left ankle on October 13, 2012.  He had surgery a week later.  Since then, every day has been seen as progress — moving closer to 100 percent, closer to Opening Day, closer to being Jeter again.

Then came Tuesday, when Jeter was scratched from the lineup with left ankle discomfort.

While Jeter said that he was not “concerned” and didn’t see it as a “setback,” clearly there is at least reason for pause in the comeback story that has accounted for most of the ink this spring.  Opening Day is less than two weeks away now, and something that Jeter described simply as “normal stiffness” is enough to raise a red flag.

It was also interesting to see how the Jeter angle developed on Tuesday morning, beginning with Joe Girardi’s early-morning declaration that they weren’t “out of the woods yet.”

Here is Girardi, beginning with his thoughts on how much playing time he would give Jeter over the course of the rest of the spring.

You can hear the caution in Girardi’s voice, which stood out a bit considering his usual optimism.  But it’s been clear that Jeter had yet to ratchet up the intensity over his first week back on the field. And until he did, there would be a little anxiety.

Jeter, as usual, projected a confident image. He was irked a bit about the possibility that he might be the designated hitter on Opening Day as opposed to the shortstop.  But at the same time, he did admit to the soreness that crept in as he ramped up his activity and got back into game action this past week.

About three hours later, Jeter addressed the media outside the visiting clubhouse in Clearwater after he had been scratched from the lineup.

Enough things have gone wrong for the Yankees since last October 13.  Even the slightest bump in the road with Jeter is not something that the Yankees or their fans need this close to the start of the season.

You’ve been basically holding your breath for five months now, right?  You might have to hold on a couple weeks longer.

Follow Sweeny Murti on Twitter @YankeesWFAN.

How concerned are you about the captain? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…

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