03/08/2013 12:51 PM ET
Fully healed, Jeter nearing Grapefruit debut
By Adam Berry and Matthew Leach / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees captain Derek Jeter returned to camp Friday after getting word Thursday that his surgically repaired left ankle was 100 percent healed. That should be the final step before Jeter can get on the field for his first Spring Training game -- something that could happen very soon.
Jeter visited Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., for a previously scheduled appointment in which he received clearance. He couldn't remember the last time he saw Dr. Anderson, but he guessed it was a week or two before Spring Training, and at that point the break hadn't fully healed.
Jeter's clean bill of health didn't result in a noticeable change to his routine Friday at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Jeter went through his usual workout, though it included a simulated game against Andy Pettitte.
"It's always reassuring when someone says that something that's broke's not broken anymore," Jeter said. "Now it's just getting through the normal aches and pain that come around it. As long as you know a break has healed, the aches and pains go away in time."
Jeter still hasn't run the bases at full speed, but manager Joe Girardi said that wouldn't necessarily be an issue. Jeter's first game appearance will come as a designated hitter, and Girardi said that Jeter will not need to go all-out in order to DH.
"I'm OK with that," Girardi said. "I won't be giving him any must-go's, those type of things. So I'll see how he feels and go from there.
At one point, Jeter said he would have to do a full-speed run around the bases before he felt comfortable playing in a Spring Training game, but he backed off that point a bit Friday, saying he'll be fine "as long as I can get around."
His first appearance could come this weekend, possibly Sunday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., but more likely Monday at home against the Cardinals.
"As soon as I'm able to play," Jeter said, "I'll play."
Girardi, however, did not entirely rule out a game as early as Saturday. The two will hash out a plan on Saturday morning.
"I'll talk to him tomorrow when we get back, see where he's at," Girardi said Friday. "See what the plan is and where he physically feels like he's at, if he feels that he's physically ready to go."
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.