GM Cashman Says Captain Will Likely Play In A Pair Of Rehab Games First

NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter could be ready to resume his chase for 3,000 hits by early next week.

The injured New York Yankees shortstop went through his latest round of rehab work Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., and general manager Brian Cashman said if all goes well over the next couple of days Jeter might begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday with Double-A Trenton.

He is likely to play at least two rehab games, and Cashman acknowledged it’s possible Jeter could rejoin the team for a three-game series in Cleveland starting Monday.

Sidelined by a strained right calf, Jeter is six hits shy of 3,000. A return next week could put him on track to reach the milestone at Yankee Stadium during a four-game series against Tampa Bay from July 7-10.

Then comes the All-Star break, and New York opens the second half with an eight-game road trip.

Jeter was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, but wasn’t ready yet. His bid to become the 28th major league player — and first with the Yankees — to get 3,000 hits has been on hold since he got hurt June 13 against the Indians.

New York has done just fine without its captain, going into Wednesday night’s game against Milwaukee with a 10-3 record since he went on the DL.

The Yankees began the day with a 1 1/2-game lead in the AL East over Boston.

Jeter, who turned 37 on Sunday, has struggled to find his All-Star form at the plate this season. He is batting .260 with two homers and 20 RBIs. He has 12 extra-base hits in 262 at-bats and a .324 on-base percentage.

Jeter ran the bases for the second consecutive day Wednesday at the team’s minor league complex and increased the intensity of his running program. He also continued taking batting practice and fielding grounders.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)