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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Only one more minor league game stands between Derek Jeter and his third return to the New York Yankees lineup this season.
Provided all goes well when Jeter plays shortstop for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders Saturday night, the Yankees' 39-year-old captain will join the club Monday night and is expected to be in the starting lineup when they open a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
"That's the plan," manager Joe Girardi said before Saturday night's game between the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. "As long as everything goes OK today, we'll see him in Toronto."
After suffering two ankle fractures, a quad strain and a calf strain, Jeter has made three trips to the disabled list and been limited to just five games all season.
More alarmingly, dating back to spring training, Jeter has been unable to play more than a couple of games in a row without being injured again. His season debut on July 11 turned out to be a one-night stand -- Jeter strained his quad running to first and had to leave the game, spending 15 days on the DL and missing 12 games.
Then, he returned on July 28 but was able to play in just four games before returning to the DL on Aug. 3 with the calf strain.
Saturday night's game in Scranton will be his third consecutive rehab game -- he was 0-for-3 with a walk Friday night and is 2-for-6 overall with a double, an RBI and two runs scored -- and there are no plans for him to play on Sunday.
"I'm not sure if he has a scheduled workout or if he's just traveling," Girardi said.
Jeter will not be activated on Sunday because there is not enough time between Saturday's 7:05 p.m. ET game in Scranton and Sunday's 1:40 p.m. ET start for the Yankees and Rays to get Jeter to St. Petersburg in time.
"It would make no sense to fly in for a day game on Sunday, so I'll be in Toronto," Jeter told reporters in Scranton on Friday night.
In his five big league games so far this season, Jeter is hitting .211 (4-for-19) with a home run and two RBIs. On Friday, Girardi acknowledged that Jeter was still not running at 100 percent, but said that was by design.
"I think he's guarding against it as we told him to. I'm sure you'll see him move better each day," Girardi said. "We don't need him to run 100 percent. We need to know he's healthy."
Girardi said that even after Jeter comes back, he will be advised to pick his spots to run all-out.
"I'll tell him 'You're going to have to use your head,' " Girardi said. " 'If there's a situation you have to run hard, you run hard. If there's a situation you don't, then protect it a little bit.' "