First pitch of his first game back in the lineup, Derek Jeter lined a single to left field.
“It was right down the middle,” Jeter said. “He felt sorry for me.”
Then Ichiro Suzuki grounded to short, and Jeter slid awkwardly into second base.
“Forgot about (practicing) that one,” he said. “We don’t really practice sliding. … I sorta fell down, like O’Neill.”
Those were the highlights of Jeter’s return to the Yankees lineup. He started at designated hitter, got two at-bats and went 1-for-2. He had to run a little and looked fine, though he admitted that he’s still not running at full speed.
“Now it’s normal spring training,” Jeter said. “I’ve played in a game so now it’s just getting more and more comfortable. More at-bats, more pitches, more times running on the bases. Now I need to do it in a game.”
Jeter said he wasn’t positive, but he thought he might need only one more game at DH before getting in the field.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a bigger test,” he said. “I would say it probably takes a little longer (to get ready defensively). You can’t really prepare for some things that happen in games. You can practice all you want, but some of the movements are going to be a little different. I think it takes a little longer to get comfortable defensively than it does offensively, but that’s every season.”
Associated Press photo