ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSNewYork/AP) — Yankees captain Derek Jeter believes he’ll be ready to play when eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday.
“I’ll play whenever they tell me. I think I could play today,” Jeter said after running bases before New York’s series finale at Texas on Thursday. “I feel good. I didn’t feel my leg, which is good.”
Asked what he still has to do to be ready, Jeter responded, “Play a game.” The shortstop has also been taking batting practice and fielding grounders this week.
Manager Joe Girardi wants to see how Jeter responds to the workouts, but said Jeter could play Saturday at home against Tampa Bay. Next week, the Yankees play five consecutive games at National League parks, eliminating the possibility of designated hitter.
“We’ll have to see how it goes,” Girardi said. “In the National League games, I couldn’t DH him, so he’d have to be able to play in the field.”
Jeter said that shouldn’t be an issue. After the home series against the Rays, New York has days off before and after a two-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers before heading to San Diego.
“No problem. We play the weekend, then have a day off. Then two days and we have another day off,” Jeter said. “I can play defensively. Everything’s been good.”
Jeter has played only one game this season. He returned from offseason surgery on his left ankle July 11, and hit the first pitch he saw for an infield single. But he strained his right quadriceps in that game, putting him back on the DL.
The Yankees are in major need of infield help after third baseman Luis Cruz was sent to the DL on Wednesday, making him the 17th Yankee on the DL.
The 39-year-old Jeter broke his ankle in the opener of the AL championship series last October. A second fracture was discovered while he was rehabbing, delaying his return. He played only four minor league rehabilitation games before rejoining the Yankees.
Jeter said he hadn’t felt pain in the area since “a couple of days before the last MRI,” which was July 18. But he added that he “wasn’t running then. I was walking.”
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