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Sunday, July 7, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Jeter's second rehab game

By Kieran Darcy

MOOSIC, Pa. -- Derek Jeter played in his second minor league rehab game with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Sunday afternoon at PNC Field. He went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and a run scored.

What it means: Jeter is another step closer to returning to the Yankees. With it being a day game after a night game, the Yanks were cautious with Jeter, having him serve as designated hitter, as opposed to playing the field. But he did take grounders before the game.

At-bat No. 1: Jeter led off the bottom of the first inning, went to a full count, and then drew a leadoff walk -- as he did Saturday night. The next batter struck out, and then Jeter was erased on a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. It was a hard shot to shortstop -- Jeter barely had time to move off first base.

At-bat No. 2: With a runner on first and no outs in the third inning, Jeter hit a sharp single to left field on the second pitch he saw from Lehigh Valley IronPigs starter Tom Cochran, a lefty. The next two batters struck out, and then Randy Ruiz drove Jeter home with a three-run homer over the left-field foul pole.

At-bat No. 3: Leading off the bottom of the fifth, Jeter struck out -- his first K of the past two days. Still facing Cochran, he looked off-balance in this at-bat. He was fooled by a first-pitch changeup, swinging and missing badly. And he went down swinging on a curveball.

At-bat No. 4: Jeter's turn came around again in the bottom of the seventh, with a runner on first and two outs. Facing hard-throwing righty reliever Mike MacDougal, the former big leaguer (and All-Star back in 2003), Jeter walked on five pitches. This time Jeter finally got to run the bases. He went to second on a single by Brent Lillibridge, and then advanced to third on the throw. Jeter appeared to be going full speed from second to third, and slid into the bag at third smoothly. He was stranded there.

'Killer B' sighting: Big righty Dellin Betances, now a reliever with the RailRiders, pitched two scoreless innings, with five strikeouts. Betances struck out the side in the seventh, but also walked a batter, threw a wild pitch, and gave up a bloop single. He settled down in the eighth, retiring the IronPigs 1-2-3. And he hit 96 mph on the radar gun.

Entering the game, Betances was 5-4 with a 4.05 ERA in 22 appearances (six starts). In 53 1/3 innings, he had given up just 36 hits with 61 strikeouts, and opponents were batting just .188 against him. But he also had 26 walks, which helps account for the relatively high ERA.

Other game notes: Addison Maruszak and Corey Patterson also hit home runs for the RailRiders. Starting pitcher David Huff got the win, hurling six innings, giving up one run on seven hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

With its 6-2 victory, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has now won four in a row, and eight of its last 10. The RailRiders are 44-46 -- in fifth place in the International League North, 8 1/2 games behind the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Fan report: Jeter didn't draw quite as big a crowd as he did Saturday night, when 10,000 fans packed PNC Field, including standing-room-only ticket-holders. The official attendance was 8,315, which is still an official sellout, since the stadium has only 7,115 seats.

What's next: Jeter will remain here, and start at shortstop for the RailRiders on Monday night against the Rochester Red Wings. His schedule beyond that remains to be seen.