According to the Associated Press, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter had his first on-field workout today since his injury-plagued 2013 season. After hitting off a tee in a batting cage and fielding 108 grounders at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, Florida, he told reporters that his left ankle is no longer an issue.
Jeter, who turns 40 in June, was limited to 17 games last year after breaking an ankle during the 2012 playoffs.
“I don’t think about it, and that’s a good thing,” Jeter said.
Jeter broke his left ankle Oct. 13, 2012 during the AL championship series opener against Detroit. He was limited to five games and 11 at-bats during spring training last year, stayed behind in Florida when the team broke camp for rehabilitation and broke the ankle again in April during rehabilitation.
“It’s good to have a normal offseason and get some work in,” Jeter said. “Everything is normal now.”
It’s a promising early report, but Jeter remains a major question mark going into his age-40 season. Re-signed to a one-year, $12 million deal over the winter, it’s very possible that 2014 could be the final season of his career. Even if Jeter is able to stay healthy, the Yankees figure to give him plenty of time out of the DH spot to stay fresh. The glove-first Brendan Ryan was brought back this winter as insurance policy at shortstop.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had another fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-3, hitting a home run for the fourth game in a row, had an RBI single and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances in New York’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.
For the year that gives Gregorius a line of .372/.470/.833, putting him atop the American League in average, slugging, OPS, and OPS+. He also leads the league in total bases (65) and RBI (29). He leads all of baseball in fWAR at 2.2, edging out Mike Trout despite the fact that Trout has played in two more games. He’s second behind Trout in homers with nine.
After last night’s game he insisted that he is not a home run hitter:
“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them . . . I’m not a power guy like Judge and Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went . . . if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing . . . I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”
Given that he hit 25 homers last year and 20 the year before, he’s being a bit modest, even if he’s not likely to keep up this torrid pace. That modesty is not stopping some people from getting a bit carried away, of course:
We’ll forgive Bob for the hyperbole. Didi has been fun to watch.