Jeter gets multiple chances in field against Rays
TAMPA, Fla. -- There have been plenty of opportunities for Derek Jeter to test his surgically repaired left ankle this spring, and the Yankees shortstop had a particularly busy day at the office on Sunday.
Jeter participated in five of the first nine outs that David Phelps recorded against the Rays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. He also turned a double play during six innings in the field, finishing the afternoon 0-for-3 at the plate.
"Yeah, I've been getting a lot of work," Jeter said. "Everything's good. ... I just want to get comfortable. That's like every other year you're here. I don't have any particular checklist that I have; just playing more and more."
Jeter made a nice play coming in on a Cole Figueroa chopper in the second inning, grabbing the ball on a short hop and fluidly whipping it to first base. Those are the types of plays that Jeter has worked on during batting practice and on the back fields, but he hasn't had chances to do them all in games.
"Every time you get an opportunity to do different types of plays, it's good," Jeter said. "I feel as though I've worked on everything; I may not have done it in a game, but I've worked on everything. Now it's just a matter of doing it in games."
When the Yankees shifted against left-handed batters on Sunday, Jeter stayed on the left side of the infield while third baseman Yangervis Solarte went to the right side of the field. Jeter said that he'd prefer to guard the left side of the field, even if he is dislodged from his usual shortstop spot.
"It feels worse for me if I'm on the other side of second. That's something [where] I'm all thrown off," Jeter said. "It's like looking in a mirror and everything is backwards. Alex [Rodriguez] didn't like it either, so I was pretty much forced to do it in the past, but now the guys that are playing third have played second as well. It's a little odd when you're in close, but it feels better than the other side."
Jeter opened the spring hitless in his first 10 at-bats before stringing together four straight hits, including a double. The captain is hitting .235 (4-for-17) through his first seven games, which includes a hard liner on Sunday that could have been a double but wound up in the glove of Rays first baseman James Loney.
"The results are probably the last thing that's on my mind," Jeter said. "It's just seeing the ball and swinging at strikes and progressing from there. I don't really look at the results, it's just a feel thing."