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Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Jeter: 'I'm getting close'

By Andrew Marchand

TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter only needs to run the bases at full speed before he is given the green light to play in an exhibition game.

"I’m getting close," Jeter said. "I’m headed in the right direction."

Jeter did not reveal when he will run the bases at full speed, but he is expected to very soon.

If Jeter keeps progressing, it may be a return of legends this weekend. Mariano Rivera is already expected to come back on Saturday at Steinbrenner Field.

Previously, Yankees GM Brian Cashman had pegged Sunday, March 10 in Dunedin as the approximate date for Jeter to get into a game, but Jeter sounds as if he could make his debut anywhere from Saturday with Rivera to Sunday against the Blue Jays or maybe Monday at home against the Cardinals.

"As soon as I can play, I’ll be in there," Jeter said.

Jeter, 38, is recovering from ankle surgery that ended his season. He said he doesn’t need to run on successive days to be ready for a game. He knows he must be patient and not rush anything as he points toward the April Fools' Day opener against the Red Sox.

Jeter said he heard about Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman’s fractured fibula and dislocated ankle, but he has not spoken to the GM about his fall from the sky.

"It is a rough rehab," Jeter said. "He doesn’t have the same thing I had, from what I understand. He is going to be off his feet for a while."

Jeter said he would never jump out of a plane, noting that there is a reason they have wheels.

Jeter also downplayed all the Yankees’ injuries, suggesting that maybe they are just getting them out of the way.

"When you go into a season, everyone has predictions of what is going to happen, but one thing that is never accounted for is injuries," Jeter said. "People get hurt. People get hurt on our team. People get hurt on other teams. The good teams find ways to get it done."