Derek Jeter got off the treadmill and ran the basepaths for the first time Saturday since having ankle surgery last October. Although the New York Yankees shortstop is far from full speed, general manager Brian Cashman expects Jeter to be ready to participate in his first exhibition game on March 10.
Jeter's first action will probably come as a designated hitter and leave the rehabbing Captain 18 spring games over the final 20 days to get ready for Opening Day against the Red Sox on April 1 at Yankee Stadium.
Is it enough time for the 38-year-old Jeter to return from a broken left ankle?
"Twenty days of Derek Jeter in spring training is still better than whatever the alternative we're going to run out there," Cashman said. "Physically he's capable of doing everything, it's just we're being very cautious about how we take him out of the gate."
The Yankees would use Eduardo Nunez or Jayson Nix at shortstop if Jeter can't make the Opening Day deadline. But don't count on it.
"I don't see any reason why not," Jeter said. "When I first got here I was a couple of weeks behind. On that schedule, I don't see why not."
Last preseason Jeter played in only 15 games and had 44 at-bats so his theory isn't that far fetched.
"I think its more of a feel thing, you know when you feel as though you are ready," said Jeets. "I have left spring training not feeling good and gotten off to good starts and the opposite too. I don't think there is a number [of at-bats] that you necessarily need."
Asked about breaking in his cleats on the basepaths Saturday, Jeter sounded satisfied.
"My form was good," he said. "It wasn't an all-out sprint. Like I said, I'm a couple of weeks behind, so it's what I would be doing two weeks ago."