CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Relax, Yankees fans. The captain is OK.
Derek Jeter was removed from New York's lineup against the Phillies on Tuesday for "precautionary" reasons because his surgically repaired left ankle feels "stiff." He said he might be able to play Wednesday, and doesn't consider this a setback.
Jeter has mild inflammation of the ankle, a precautionary MRI showed. An X-ray was negative. He was listed as day-to-day.
"I'm not concerned because I was told this was going to happen," Jeter said before the test results came back. "From everything I've been told by the doctors, it's normal."
The 13-time All-Star shortstop was slated to play his first road game this spring, but was scratched after taking batting practice. Jeter broke his left ankle in Game 1 of the AL championship series against Detroit. He played in his first spring game on March 9, and later played the field for the first time. He is 3 for 11 so far.
"It's just stiff but it's not in the part that I broke; it's around it," Jeter said. "I was told I'm going to feel it around the ankle because I was in a boot for so long. It takes time to strengthen. It's normal, just have to deal with it and move on."
The 38-year-old Jeter led the American League with 216 hits and batted .316 with 15 homers and 58 RBIs last year. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday morning Jeter might begin the season as a designated hitter against Boston if the Red Sox start a left-handed pitcher in the opener on April 1.
Those plans are temporarily on hold. Jeter, however, still plans to be ready for the opener.
"The luxury is it's spring training and there's two weeks left," Jeter said, adding he doesn't want Girardi to alter his plan of increasing his playing time the next couple weeks. "I don't think you have to scale back anything. I don't know. I haven't done this before. It's a matter of going out, playing and see what happens."
The Yankees have been beset by injuries this spring.
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez is expected to be sidelined until at least the All-Star break following hip surgery on Jan. 16. Center fielder Curtis Granderson broke his arm in his first exhibition at-bat and is out until May. First baseman Mark Teixeira has a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist could miss up to two months of the regular season.
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