Jeter plays seven innings in rehab game

The Yankees' captain finishes assignment in Scranton on Saturday
08/23/2013 11:10 PM ET
By Josh Horton

Derek Jeter is supposed to return to the Yankees' roster in Monday's series opener against the Blue Jays.(AP)
Derek Jeter knew the plan all along, he just wouldn't share it with reporters until after Friday night's Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game at PNC Field in Moosic, PA.

"I know more than you guys think, " Jeter said with a wide grin. "I just don't tell you."

As of right now, the plan is for the Yankees' captain to make his return to the New York roster on Monday in Toronto. However, he must play more innings at shortstop on Saturday evening as the RailRiders close out a four-game series with the Pawtucket Red Sox. He wouldn't comment on whether or not he would play nine innings at shortstop, or less.

Jeter exited Friday's game after seven innings at shortstop and four at-bats. He went 0-3 with a walk, a strikeout and two fielder's choices.

"You feel more and more comfortable the more you play and you know you're facing a knuckleballer, so you just throw everything out the window," Jeter said. "Tomorrow I'll get a chance to see some normal pitches, which is good. I feel good and feel like I'm ready to go."

The Yankees' shortstop looked much better in the field, committing no errors on Friday night. His best play of the evening was the final out of the fourth inning as he came charging in on a soft grounder and threw a bullet over to Johnson at first for the out.

"It's all plays that I have done working out, but you know it's different when you're doing it in the games and you have guys actually running," Jeter said. "It's good to do it in a game situation, but I have worked on it. I try to work on every possible scenario when you're working out, but game speed is a little bit different."

Jeter's first at-bat resulted in a strikeout when home plate umpire Andy Dudones rung him up on a curve ball that was off the inside corner of the plate. Despite going down looking, Jeter worked a 3-0 count before taking a strike and fouling a 3-1 knuckleball off to the first base side.

The misfortune at the plate continued for Jeter as he bounced into a double play on a two-hopper to the shortstop on the first pitch he saw from Pawtucket starting pitcher Charlie Haeger, which was a vicious knuckleball.

Jeter concluded his night at the plate by bouncing a grounder towards Pawtucket shortstop Heiker Meneses, who fielded it cleanly, stepped on second and made a strong throw over to first. Drew Sutton, however, couldn't handle the perfect throw from Meneses and Jeter took second on an error.

Jeter then took third on a ground ball off the bat of Dan Johnson and followed it up by sprinting home on a wild pitch out of the hand of Brock Huntzinger. Jeter made a terrific slide on the outer half of the plate and was called safe to give the RailRiders a 4-0 lead.

"I was running fine. I don't ever try to give people percentages, I don't know how people figure that out when they say they are 82 percent," Jeter said. "I ran. I'm not concerned about running, not at all. Everything felt good."

The Yankees' captain said there isn't a set list of things he needs to do in order to make his return to the lineup. The most important thing is just proving he is healthy.

"You know, I don't think there is a checklist of things that I have to do," Jeter said. "Just come and play another game and hopefully just feel more and more comfortable."

Jeter understands the caution the Yankees are taking by having him play more games with the RailRiders due to his recent history of trying to come back too soon.

"For me, it's just playing games. For them it's probably making sure I'm alright," Jeter said. "Like I said the last two times I came back I got hurt after one game. I get the fact that I have to play in some games, you know you play baseball every day for a reason."

Jeter concludes his rehab Saturday night against righty Clayton Mortenson, who believe it or not, does not throw a knuckleball. 

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