Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter took questions from media members during a press conference Sunday morning in spring camp and expressed once again that he fully intends to be in the starting lineup on Opening Day — April 1 against the Red Sox.
“I broke my ankle in October; it’s been quite some time,” Jeter said Sunday, via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Up until this point, the ankle has healed perfectly, now it’s just a matter of getting everything else in shape.”
“I’m going to have to push myself,” Jeter continued, “but Opening Day has been the goal all along.”
The 38-year-old will not be cleared to appear in a Grapefruit League game until the middle of March, but he’s taking infield practice regularly and hasn’t experienced any sort of setbacks with his running program.
Jeter hit .316/.362/.429 with 15 homers and 99 runs scored in 159 games last season for New York.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi has hinted that Jeter will DH sometimes this year against left-handers.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.