Derek Jeter: 'I'll be good to go'

Updated: December 3, 2012, 5:32 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter replied in the affirmative as to whether he'll be ready to play on Opening Day.

"No question," the club's captain said Monday afternoon on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM, his first public comments since he broke his ankle in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.

"I'll be in the walking boot for another few weeks, and then I'll be good to go," he said. "It's been a long process. What's it been, six or seven weeks, where I haven't been able to move too much? But it's healing probably just as expected. We still got a long way to go before the season starts, but I'll be ready."

Jeter, who will turn 39 in June, fractured the ankle, which had been troubling him because the bone was bruised, after stumbling while trying to turn a double play. He said at no point did he consider it a career-threatening injury.

"I felt it pop, so I figured it was broken somewhere," he said. "But no, I didn't think about that. I was thinking about how I'd get ready for the next season."

Jeter also took some jabs at a New York tabloid, which last week published a front-page photo of him in which it looked as though the normally lean captain had added a few pounds to his midsection during his recovery.

"I thought it was pretty funny," he said. "I guess there's a lot of things you can do with a picture. The funny thing is, a day or two before before that people were telling me I looked like a lost a lot of weight. And two days later I'm on the front page of the New York Post. So they had a little fun with it, but it's over and done with. I guess they do what they do."

Jeter said the photo caused him to receive "a lot of messages from a lot of different people asking me what I've been doing."

Asked what he had been doing since the injury, Jeter said, "Evidently, I haven't been staying in shape. That's what they've said. So I guess I've been doing nothing. But when you think about it, you take a few weeks off when the season's over, so quite honestly, I'm not behind schedule on anything right now."

Jeter said he had only just learned of third baseman Alex Rodriguez's latest hip injury. Rodriguez will have surgery in January and miss at least the first half of the 2013 season.

"I don't want to comment on it prematurely, but first and foremost you want Alex to be healthy," he said. "That's the number one key. I don't know enough details to comment on it, but injuries are part of the game. You want everybody to be healthy. Alex is a big part of our team, and hopefully he can get back soon."

The just-completed season was Jeter's best in three years; he won a Silver Slugger award with a.316 batting average. Still, he said the failure of the Yankees to win a world championship was more lasting to him than an individual accomplishment.

"It is a disappointment when you don't win," he said. "You play to win a championship. We did a lot of good things last year, but the bottom line is you want to win and we didn't win, so it's a huge disappointment."

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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