Derek Jeter doesn't have a checklist; he just wants to get comfortable
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Mark Teixeira has talked about having "boxes" he wants to check off, a mental list of things he wants to occur in game action to test his surgically repaired right wrist.
Derek Jeter's approach is different.
"I don't really have a list," he said Sunday after going 0-for-3 in the Yankees' 3-3, 10-inning tie against the Rays at Steinbrenner Field. "I just want to get comfortable. I don't have any particular checklist that I have. Just playing more and more."
Jeter, 39, said throughout the offseason that his left ankle, broken in October 2012, was 100 percent, but that hasn't stopped the Yankees and manager Joe Girardi from keeping a close eye on him at the plate and in the field.
Jeter had plenty of work in the latter department Sunday, recording outs on all six chances he had, most of them routine.
Jeter's best play came in the second when he charged Cole Figueroa's chopper, fielded it at the edge of the infield grass and threw him out.
In the first, Jeter made a nice play moving toward second to field a grounder and throw out Wil Myers.
"He hasn't had range in years, but it doesn't matter. He knows where to play," an opposing team scout said.
The scout said of the aforementioned plays: "Those both showed how comfortable he is already and that his hands are still good and he's healthy."
Jeter said he has practiced most scenarios he can face but that there is no substitute for doing it in a game.
"Every time you get an opportunity to do different types of plays, it's good," Jeter said. "You work hard at it in BP or work hard at it on side fields, but you still want to do it in the games."
At the plate, it has been a mix of good and bad through seven games. After an 0-for-10 start, Jeter collected four straight hits in the next two games before Sunday's 0-fer that left him at 4-for-17 (.235) with two walks.
Jeter looked overmatched against Rays righthander Chris Archer when he struck out in the first and when he grounded out in the third, but against lefty Jeff Beliveau in the sixth, he was robbed of a likely double when first baseman James Loney dived to grab a bullet headed down the line.
"He had no chance versus Archer and he knew it," one talent evaluator said. "But he used it to see pitches and to try to get his timing better. His bat is still behind a ways."
Which is not unusual for many hitters this early in spring training.
"I couldn't have cared less that I didn't have a hit in my first  at-bats," Jeter said. "The more you play, the more comfortable you get; I think that goes for everyone, regardless of even if you get hits. I just want to get comfortable. The results are probably the last thing on my mind."
Rays manager Joe Maddon, who said he runs into Jeter in the offseason at a "common Starbucks" the two frequent in town, believes those results will be there for him.
"He's been looking good. It looks like he's in great shape," Maddon said. "I know he's very motivated. At any age, you can never count this guy out. If he stays healthy, he's going to perform really well this year."