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Wednesday, April 17, 2013
First Pitch: When does Jeter come back?

By Andrew Marchand

Derek Jeter is not close to returning to the Yankees.

The Yankees won't say how far he is from coming back, which is probably because they don't really know. At the moment, Jeter and the team are trying to figure out how hard to push his surgically repaired left ankle without causing any setbacks.

Jeter's workload was lightened on Monday. Joe Girardi said he was taking too many groundballs, which, if he can't handle an overabundance, doesn't sound like a good thing.

Girardi has also said Jeter will need close to a full spring training to be ready for the majors. Since he is a position player, maybe he can cut the normal six weeks in half to three weeks. That would put him into the first week of May, if the clock started right now.

But there is no evidence that Jeter will soon play in a game. When he does, he will probably first just DH, like he did in spring training and then work his way up to playing the field. He is going to likely have to show that he can play in back-to-back games without having a relapse with the ankle before he is ready for pinstripes.

You add it all up and there is no telling when Jeter comes back. It just seems later than sooner. And when he does, he will be a 38-year-old shortstop coming off a major ankle surgery.

If Jeter can return to the form he showed in 2012, it will be another remarkable tale in his legendary career.

UP NOW: I have a progress report on Jeter. He has lessened his workload. The Yankees honored Boston by having "Sweet Caroline" play at the Stadium and with the Red Sox and Yankees logos next to "United We Stand" on the outside video board.

Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera were thrilled to honor No. 42 with a 4-2 win.

ON DECK: The Yankees send CC Sabathia (2-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. Wade Miley (2-0, 2.13). Wallace Matthews makes the start for us. As always, thanks for reading.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: When does Jeter come back?