After spending two games in the designated hitter spot, Derek Jeter is itching to test his surgically-repaired ankle at his familiar shortstop position.
According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, Jeter said following today’s Grapefruit League game that the plan is for him to play shortstop Wednesday against the Phillies. After going 1-for-2 with a single in his return during his spring debut on Saturday, Jeter was hitless in two at-bats this afternoon against the Cardinals.
The Yankees will wait to see how Jeter’s ankle feels before making an official decision about Wednesday, but manager Joe Girardi said that he’ll play four or five innings for his first time back on the field. It’s unlikely that he’ll play back-to-back games at shortstop right out of the gate, but he should have plenty of time to get there before Opening Day.
Jeter, 38, led the majors with 216 hits last season and currently sits 11th all-time with 3,304 career hits. If healthy, he should continue to climb that illustrious list this year. He’s just 12 hits away from passing Eddie Collins for 10th place and 16 away from passing Paul Molitor for ninth.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.
Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.
Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.
The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.