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Running is Jeter's greatest remaining hurdle

BOSTON -- Derek Jeter dipped into his stash of Louisville Sluggers and disappeared down the ancient Fenway Park runway, a dank passageway that leads from the visitors' clubhouse to the playing field.

Was this a significant step in the Yankees captain's recovery? Not just yet. Jeter has not been cleared to resume swinging a bat; instead, he was volunteering to stand in as a visual aid while Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes threw bullpen sessions as preparation for their next starts.

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"It'd be kind of hard to swing while they're throwing a bullpen," Jeter joked. "I think I'm hitting tomorrow. I think."

Jeter is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list from his strained right quadriceps next Saturday against the Rays at Yankee Stadium, but it is less than certain that he will be able to do so.

"I guess anything is possible," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I'm just not sure. I think the biggest hurdle he would have to clear is running. I wouldn't rule it out, but I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent sure he'll be back [on Saturday]."

The Yankees have not yet cleared Jeter to resume light jogging, let alone run the bases or take ground balls, but Jeter believes he will be ready to play shortstop in the minimum possible time frame.

"I've got a whole week," Jeter said. "I think I will be there."

Jeter said that he has not felt any discomfort in his quad for several days. He said that he generally speaks to head athletic trainer Steve Donohue on a daily basis to iron out his recovery progress and what he will be permitted to do.

"I come here, I get my treatment and I understand it takes time," Jeter said. "I can't play until Saturday anyway, so there's no reason to go out and start running the bases at full speed today. I know things take time, but I don't really sit around and dissect what I'm doing on each particular day.

"I do what I'm told. I want to play as soon as I can play."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter