Derek Jeter gets “final clearance” on surgically-repaired ankle

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Finally some positive news out of Yankees camp.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, veteran shortstop Derek Jeter was given “final clearance” on Thursday afternoon in North Carolina from the doctor that performed his ankle surgery in late October. In other words, Jeter is free to perform all baseball-related activities and can begin playing in Grapefruit League games without any restrictions.

The Yankees have said that Jeter will make his spring debut on March 10 — this Sunday — against the Blue Jays. And they can now stick to that date with a good amount of confidence that everything will go smoothly.

Jeter batted .316/.362/.429 with 15 home runs, 58 RBI and 99 runs scored over 159 games last season for New York. The 38-year-old will probably make close to 50 plate appearances in the Grapefruit League.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.