Jeter: I think I can play today


ARLINGTON, Texas — Yankees captain Derek Jeter believes he’ll be ready to play when eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday.

“I’ll play whenever they tell me. I think I could play today,” Jeter said after running bases before New York won its series finale 2-0 at Texas on Thursday. “I feel good. I didn’t feel my leg, which is good.”

Asked what he still has to do to be ready, Jeter responded, “Play a game.” He has also been taking batting practice and fielding grounders this week.

Manager Joe Girardi said after the series finale that he had watched Jeter and was getting good reports about how the shortstop was feeling.

“He’ll run again (Friday), he’ll see a doctor and then we’ll go from there,” said Girardi, refusing though to say whether Jeter would play. “I’m not throwing anything out there. … I’m not dismissed anything either.”

After the Yankees play this weekend at home against Tampa Bay, they have five consecutive games at National League parks, eliminating the possibility of designated hitter. Because of that, Girardi said Jeter will have to be able to play in the field.

Jeter said that shouldn’t be an issue. After the Rays, New York has days off before and after a two-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers before heading to San Diego.

“No problem. We play the weekend, then have a day off. Then two days and we have another day off,” Jeter said. “I can play defensively. Everything’s been good.”

Jeter has played only one game this season. He returned from offseason surgery on his left ankle July 11, and hit the first pitch he saw for an infield single. But he strained his right quadriceps in that game, putting him back on the DL.

The 39-year-old Jeter broke his ankle in the opener of the AL championship series last October. A second fracture was discovered while he was rehabbing, delaying his return. He played only four minor league rehabilitation games before rejoining the Yankees.

Jeter said he hadn’t felt pain in the area since “a couple of days before the last MRI,” which was July 18. But he added that he “wasn’t running then. I was walking.”

NOTES: Yankees OF Curtis Granderson, out since breaking his left pinkie on May 24, started a minor league rehabilitation assignment with Class A Tampa. He played five innings in left and was hitless in two at-bats with a walk. … New York INF Jayson Nix, sidelined by a strained right hamstring, played third base for Tampa and went 0 for 2 with a walk in his second minor league game.

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AP freelancers Lary Bump and Mark Didtler contributed to this report.