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February 4, 2014

MLB: Jeter hits on field for first time this year

TAMPA — New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has taken on-field batting practice for the first time since his 2013 season was cut short by injuries.

Jeter hit with authority to all fields during a five-round, 39-swing session Monday at the Yankees' minor league complex. Jeter also took grounders at shortstop for the first time this year, fielding 34 balls at his usual position.

''Everything is good so far, knock on wood,'' Jeter said.

Jeter, who turns 40 in June, had hit in an indoor batting cage and fielded grounders on infield grass the previous two weeks. He was limited to 17 games last year after breaking an ankle during the 2012 playoffs.

The Yankees captain is not worrying about those who doubt his ability to return from the severe injury.

''My job is to be ready to play,'' Jeter said. ''I remember when I was 35, everyone said that was it. He can't play anymore. End of my career. So, it's really nothing different. Eventually, somebody is going to be right, you know what I mean? You're going to run out of numbers.''

Jeter broke his left ankle during the 2012 AL championship series. He played in just five spring training games last year and broke the ankle again in April during rehabilitation.

''This offseason is like a normal offseason,'' said Jeter, who was in a walking boot until early January last year. ''I'm four months ahead of where I was last year. Last year, quite honestly, I want to forget about it.''

Jeter missed the first 91 games of the 2013 season, then felt pain his right quadriceps when he returned July 11. He went back on the DL, returned July 28 for three games, then strained his right calf.

Back in the lineup on Aug. 26, he played through Sept. 7, when he left for a pinch runner after singling against Boston. Four days later the Yankees said his season was over. Jeter wound up hitting .190 (12 for 63) with one homer and seven RBIs.

Yankees pitchers, catcher and injured players start workouts Feb. 15. Jeter said he'll remain at the minor league complex until the first full-squad big league workout on Feb. 20.

 

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