Derek Jeter sheds walking boot, begins working out in TampaCaptain still on schedule for Opening Day, says GM Brian Cashman
And, according to GM Brian Cashman, Jeter may be cleared to begin baseball activities within the next two weeks, which could keep him on schedule for a return to the lineup by Opening Day.
"He's doing fine; all the boots are off. He's allowed to walk around now in shoes and stuff, but he's not doing any running. He's at the complex and they have an underwater treadmill, so he's doing some walking underwater,” Cashman said. "Sometime in mid-to-late January, he'll be cleared for some baseball activities; hitting and fielding. He won't be doing any running until the very back end of this. That's the plan so far, and he's doing well.”
Jeter underwent surgery to repair a fractured left ankle on Oct. 20, just one week after he suffered the injury in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. The Captain was in a non-weight-bearing cast for approximately six weeks following the procedure, and then placed in the walking boot.
Since becoming the Yankees’ shortstop in 1996, Jeter has missed opening day just once; that was back in 2001, when he sat out the team’s opener with a strained quadriceps.
Initial prognosis after the ankle surgery was that Jeter’s recovery would take four to five months, a timetable which could put that streak in jeopardy if it runs beyond the longer end. However, Jeter has said all along that he expects to be ready April 1, and Cashman agreed with that thought.
"[Jeter] was always expected to be behind in Spring Training, and he's always been expected to be 100 percent ready to go as our starting shortstop when the regular season starts," Cashman said. "CC and him, and probably Mo, they'll start slowly and finish strong."
As for the Captain’s thoughts now that the boot is off?
"I feel good. I am where I need to be. I am right where I should be,” he said.
Jeter, who turns 39 in June, batted .316 with 15 home runs, 58 RBI, and a Major League-leading 216 hits in 159 games for the Yankees in 2012.
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES