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Yankees 'excited' about Jeter's return

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter is moving closer to a return to the Yankees every day, and this afternoon Joe Girardi acknowledged that he might have to temper the expectations for Jeter when is reactivated, which could happen as early as this weekend's series against the Minnesota Twins.

"I think the people you worry the most with too much excitement and there's too much expectations would be the guys in that room," he said, referring to the Yankees clubhouse. "Sure the fans are going to be extremely excited when he comes back and so are we. But we understand that he's one guy and we know he can only do what he's capable of doing."

The final hurdle to Jeter's return is his ability to play full, or nearly full, games at shortstop on consecutive days, something he was unable to do in spring training without pain and something he has yet to do on his rehab assignment. Jeter has played in three games for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but the two games he has played at shortstop were broken up by a DH day in-between. He had yesterday off but is scheduled to play shortstop tonight for Scranton against Rochester tonight, and again tomorrow night against Syracuse.

If Jeter comes out of those games OK, and the Yankees deem that he is ready, it is possible he could re-join the team Friday night in the Bronx as they open a three-game series against the Twins, the final series before the All-Star break. Or, the Yankees could delay his return until July 19, when the team begins its second half of the season against the Red Sox in Boston.

Jeter has mentioned several times in interviews that he feels as if he is ready to play now, but Girardi denied that Jeter has been putting any pressure on the Yankees to activate him.

"There's not really a lot of fighting going on," Girardi said. "It's just conversations is what it is and you have to make sure that the player is ready. It's just he has to play in some games, that's the bottom line. I think the most he's played shortstop is five innings so far. You can walk in the first day of spring training and a player can tell you he's ready to go, that's what players do. They want to be on the field. We all understand that and we have to make sure he is ready."

Girardi said he did not need to see Jeter play back-to-back nine inning games, that seven or eight would suffice. "That's what our guys normally do in spring training," he said.

Jeter is 1-for-6, a single, so far in his rehab assignment. He has also drawn four walks and scored two runs.

"It's hard for me to really evaluate him because I’m not seeing him," Girardi said. "So you have to trust the people that are seeing him, the people that are watching him, and that's how you make the decision."

QUESTION: Do you think the Yankees should bring Jeter back this weekend? Or is it wiser to wait until after the All-Star break?