Jeter returns, but still limited

Derek Jeter fields a ground ball on Monday in Tampa. John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER/USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter is back, but he is still limited.

On the first day of the New York Yankees' full workouts, Jeter did not stretch with the rest of the team. While all the position players sprawled along the right-field grass at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Jeter limbered up inside.

Jeter went on to take ground balls and batting practice. The Yankees limited his lateral movement to protect the left ankle he fractured in October.

For the first day of spring training, he looked good enough.

"It felt fine," Jeter said. "It felt good. It was the first time I was doing everything on the field, in terms of hit on the field and ground balls on the dirt. Everything felt good."

Jeter said he is about two weeks behind his normal schedule as he aims to be ready by April 1. Trainers still will not let Jeter run on natural grass, limiting him to a treadmill for his cardio workout.

The key, Joe Girardi said, is for Jeter to stay on course. The manager felt the captain understood not to try to go too fast.

"Our big thing is not to have any setbacks now," Girardi said. "Let's not push this too fast. Let's get this where this is supposed to be, when it is supposed to be. But it is really nice to see him on the field. The last time I saw him off the field, I was helping him off. That's not a good feeling."

Jeter said his leg felt fine but listed nearly every other body part as sore after the first workout. He described this as normal.

"You talk to guys who have worked out all offseason, the first week of spring training they are still sore," Jeter said.

Jeter also went into more detail about the scooter that he used in the offseason at his 30,000-square-foot mansion. It was not motorized. Rather, it was more like a Razor scooter, but one especially designed for people after surgery.

"It is easier than crutches," Jeter said.