TAMPA, Fla. — In a few years, this will be a scene from Old-Timers’ Day: Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera walking on the field to loud ovations.
For now, though, it is a sight the banged-up Yankees had been waiting for: their captain and closer returning to the field after major injuries.
Jeter and Rivera made their 2013 spring training debuts Saturday in the Yankees’ 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves, which dropped New York’s AL-worst exhibition record to 3-11.
“It’s really positive for us,” Girardi said.
The 38-year-old Jeter was a designated hitter and singled sharply to left field on his first pitch since breaking his left ankle on Oct. 13 in the AL championship series opener. Jeter, who missed New York’s first 13 spring training games, grounded out to third base in his only other at-bat.
“Everything was fine,” Jeter said. “It’s good to get back into a game. Now, it’s normal spring training. Get more and more comfortable.”
Jeter, immobile for part of the off-season after surgery on Oct. 20, is scheduled to DH again Monday. He could return to shortstop Wednesday.
“We’ll see how he feels and go from there,” Girardi said.
Rivera was on the mound just hours after announcing this will be his final season. In his first game since April 30, he threw a 1-2-3 fifth inning that required 15 pitches.
As for the Braves, starter Mike Minor allowed three hits and two walks in four shutout innings.
“We threw a lot of sliders and curveballs, and stayed away from changeups, threw maybe five,” Minor said. “So, really just working on that and just trying to workout of jams. Mix in more game-like situations.”
Tyler Pastornicky, hitting .419 this year, tripled in the seventh.