|ESPN.com: Baseball||[Print without images]|
MOOSIC, Pa. – Derek Jeter is another step closer to re-joining the New York Yankees after playing in his second minor-league rehab game Sunday.
Jeter suited up for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the second consecutive day, serving as the RailRiders' designated hitter.
The Yankees' captain went 1-for-2 with two walks, collecting his first official hit of the 2013 season -- a third-inning single in the RailRiders' 6-2 win over Lehigh Valley.
"It's good. It's better to get a hit than to get out," Jeter said. "I'm sure if I didn't get a hit, then they'd start the whole Derek without a hit count.
"As long as I'm seeing the ball good, then I'm fine. The results at this particular point, I don't think is the No.1 priority."
On Saturday night, playing in his first real game in nine months, Jeter played five innings at shortstop and went 0-for-2 with a walk. He did take infield practice prior to Sunday's game, and then led off the bottom of the first with another walk.
Jeter's single in the third was a sharply hit ball to left field. He struck out swinging in the fifth and walked again in the seventh.
"I think I had almost 50 at-bats down in Florida, simulated at-bats. So every day it's a little bit better," Jeter said. "The two starters the last couple days didn't throw too hard. I look forward to seeing guys who throw a little bit harder."
Jeter also advanced from first to third on a single after his walk in the seventh, his first real base-running action of the past two days. He appeared to be running full speed and slid into third base smoothly.
"You still think about it. It's there," Jeter said of his surgically repaired left ankle. "But I'm trying not to."
When asked if he had any doubt if he could return to being the kind of player he's accustomed to being, Jeter responded confidently.
"Why would I? It hasn't crossed my mind," he said. "If I had doubt, I wouldn't play."
But Jeter doesn't view himself as a savior for a Yankees team currently in fourth place, despite being eight games over. 500 at 48-40.
"I don't know if one person coming back is really gonna make that much of a difference," he said. "We have a lot of guys who are out, hopefully some guys can come back, but our team's been doing well up until this point. I don't think anyone thought we'd be in this position now. It's a long season, and I'm sure we'll be all right."
Jeter will remain with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and start at shortstop Monday night when the RailRiders open a series against Rochester. He said he doesn't know how many innings he will play, nor what his next step will be after that.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi, speaking before New York's 2-1 loss to the Orioles on Sunday, indicated Jeter likely won't return to the majors until after next week's All-Star break.
"What's my pat answer? He's ready when he's ready," Girardi said. "I think what you have to do is you have to see how he's moving around, how he's responding physically from playing every day. You have to build him up. He has to be able to play more than five innings once every three days. So I mean, we'll go through this week, I'm sure, and we'll make an evaluation.
"If there's one positive thing in all of this, you do have the four days that we are off. So even if he was ready on those days, you can't bring him back anyway. I don't think you want to run a player out there if he's not ready to play. I think you risk of injury doing that and you have a whole other DL stint and set of circumstances. So it allows players to get the time that they need."
Jeter is anxious to get back to New York but sounded resigned to waiting at least a little bit longer.
"Ultimately I think it's up to me," Jeter said. "They're gonna have input, but I have to tell them how I feel.
"If I feel good, I'll be back. But I understand that I have to play some [rehab] games. It's not like I'm fighting them on it."