Most of what Derek Jeter has done through two rehab starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he'd already accomplished while preparing for his rehab stint in Florida. Sunday, he at least found one new baseball move to test his once fractured left ankle.
After leading off the first inning with a walk, Jeter took a hard slide into the second-base bag trying to breakup a potential double play. Lehigh Valley shortstop Freddy Galvis still completed the twin killing, but Jeter added another slide and his first hit in the RailRiders' 6-2 win over the IronPigs.
"I've never been one to peel off and run away," Jeter said. "So I just slide wherever I am.
"I really don't think about anything when you do it. The thing you want to do is when you play, you don't think about it. I'm trying not to think about it."
The 13-time All-Star served as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's designated hitter, going 1-for-2 with two walks, a strikeout and a run scored. The 39-year-old singled with Walter Ibarra on in the third and both came around to score on Randy Ruiz's home run.
After striking out against Tom Cochran to lead off the fifth, Jeter drew a walk against right-hander Mike MacDougal and then went from first to third on Brent Lillibridge's single to center with an easy slide into third base.
"I've done it before," Jeter said of going first-to-third. "It's not like it's the first time I'm doing it, but I guess it's good for people to see it and do it in a game. But I'm not concerned with that. I've done a lot of that in Florida. It's good to get back into the game, but I don't have a checklist in my mind."
Jeter is making his return roughly eight months after fracturing his left ankle in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series last season. In his first rehab appearance Saturday, the 39-year-old shortstop went 0-for-2 with a walk and fielded one routine ground ball in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's 4-2 victory. He played five innings at shortstop.
After the game, Jeter he expects to be at short Monday, but he did not know how much of the game he would play.
He expressed hope that he would see a few more pitchers with formidable velocity. Neither of the starters he faced over the weekend boasts fastballs that ramp up beyond 90 mph. Although Jeter thinks he's making strides in his pitch recognition and timing, he still thinks there's some more work to do.
"I think I had almost 50 at-bats down in Florida, simulated at-bats," he said. "It's better to get a hit than to get out. I'm sure if I didn't get a hit, then they'd start the whole, 'He hasn't gotten a hit,' countdown. It's good, as long as I'm seeing the ball good, I'm fine. The results right at this particular point I don't think are the priority."
Jeter noted that one of his chief goals when he's on the field is to avoid thinking about the ankle, especially as he runs the bases and fields grounders.
"That's going to take a while," he said. "That's like any injury. I've pulled a hamstring, and you still think about it a month, two months away. It's there. It is what it is, so I'll think about it, but I'm trying not to. I'm asked about it every single day, therefore I think about it."