New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has taken the next step toward returning to the majors. He’ll begin his rehab assignment on July 6 with the team's Triple-A affiliate, according to the New York Daily News' Marc Feinsand.
UPDATE: Saturday, July 6, at 8:50 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
Jeter is out after five innings of play, going 0-for-2 with a walk on the night (per MiLB.com).
---End of update---
Jeter hasn’t taken the field for the Bronx Bombers since fracturing his ankle during the American League Championship Series back in October. He would’ve been back already, but a second fracture has caused him to miss additional time. Dan Martin of the New York Post reported at the time that he’d be out until mid-July.
It now appears that Jeter will be back right after the All-Star break.
Jeter took batting practice for the first time since re-injuring his ankle on June 19, according to Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger:
A few days later, Jeter was hitting in the cage again as well as fielding a few ground balls, according to Erik Boland of Newsday:
Jeter told Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News that if it were up to him, he’d skip the next steps of the process and jump right into his slot in the lineup for the Yankees. New York’s captain hasn’t had much fun on the disabled list for the last few months.
He voiced his displeasure, saying:
I’m frustrated regardless. They could be undefeated right now and I’d still be frustrated. I don’t like to sit out, regardless of when it is, regardless of how the team is doing, good or bad. I want to play. I want the team to be doing better, but I want to be back just as bad either way.
The Yankees started the season without many regular stars in the lineup, but they have managed to stay afloat. Several role players have stepped up when given the opportunity.
In recent weeks, however, New York has started to skid. The Bronx Bombers are currently 46-39 and six games back in the AL East.
New York has truly missed Jeter at shortstop, as Jayson Nix hasn’t done a great job replacing him. In 73 games, Nix is hitting .236 with two home runs and 20 RBI. Jeter’s return can’t come any sooner for the Yankees.
While Jeter continues to work his way back to New York, let’s not forget that the veteran shortstop isn’t getting any younger. Major League Baseball certainly hasn’t forgotten, as the official Twitter account for the league recently sent Jeter its best wishes on his birthday:
Joe Girardi says that the 39-year-old will likely need all 20 days in the minor leagues before getting reinstated by the Yankees, per Rubin’s report.
Let the countdown 'til Jeter is in the Bronx begin.