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.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.