TAMPA, Fla. — New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter took on-field batting practice for the first time since his 2013 season was cut short by injuries.
Jeter hit with authority to all fields during a five-round, 39-swing session Monday at the Yankees’ minor league complex. Jeter also took grounders at shortstop for the first time this year, fielding 34 balls at his usual position.
“Everything is good so far, knock on wood,” Jeter said.
Jeter, who turns 40 in June, had hit in an indoor batting cage and fielded grounders on infield grass the previous two weeks.
He was limited to 17 games last year after breaking an ankle during the 2012 playoffs.
The Yankees captain is not worrying about those who doubt his ability to return from the severe injury.
“My job is to be ready to play,” Jeter said. “I remember when I was 35, everyone said that was it. He can’t play anymore. End of my career. So, it’s really nothing different. Eventually, somebody is going to be right, you know what I mean? You’re going to run out of numbers.”
Jeter broke his left ankle during the 2012 AL championship series. He played in just five spring training games last year and broke the ankle again in April during rehabilitation.
“This off-season is like a normal offseason,” said Jeter, who was in a walking boot until early January last year. “I’m four months ahead of where I was last year. Last year, quite honestly, I want to forget about it.”
RAYS: Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson underwent surgery on his pitching elbow and is expected to miss the first six-to-eight weeks of the season.
The 2011 AL Rookie of the Year experienced discomfort in his elbow after beginning his off-season throwing program in December. He tried to work through it, but when it persisted during bullpen sessions in mid-January, Hellickson contacted the team trainer.
Arthroscopic surgery was performed last Wednesday. Hellickson plans to report to spring training this month, however he’s not expected to rejoin the rotation until at least mid-May.
DIAMONDBACKS: Extended the contracts of manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers
Contracts for both had been set to expire after the coming season.
RANGERS: Right-hander Daniel Bard has agreed to a minor league contract with Texas that includes an invitation to big league spring training.
Bard, who has spent his major league career with Boston, is coming off surgery a month ago for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
ANGELS: Third baseman David Freese and reliever Kevin Jepsen reached arbitration deals.
Veteran infielder Chad Tracy has also agreed to a minor-league deal with the Angels.