Derek Jeter runs, cleared to do 'everything'

Derek Jeter leads his team on the field

Derek Jeter leads his team on the field to play against the Baltimore Orioles during Game 3 of the ALDS. (Oct. 10, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter has cleared his final rehab hurdle.

Monday morning, two weeks after he began on-field baseball activities, Jeter ran indoors on a treadmill.

It marked the first time the 38-year-old shortstop tested his surgically repaired left ankle, which he broke in Game 1 of the ALCS, by running on it.

"We're just progressing right where I need to be," Jeter said later in the morning from his car as he left the Yankees' minor-league complex. "I've gotten the OK to do everything now."

Asked how the running went, Jeter smiled and replied: "Great."

"I feel fine," said Jeter, who, along with the Yankees, has maintained since his Oct. 20 surgery that he'll be ready for the season opener April 1 against Boston. "I was able to do everything else [in the offseason], I just had to be careful with the ankle. But now I've gotten the green light with that [running], so I'm [all set]. I've gotten all the green lights I need."

Curtis Granderson, who arrived in Tampa on Sunday night and came to the minor-league complex Monday to work out, saw Jeter on the treadmill and forgot for a moment that his teammate is coming off a major ankle injury.

"He was on there and I just came up and we were talking and I didn't think about that [the ankle] because he wasn't hobbling around or wincing in pain or making any of those gestures," Granderson said. "So to me, it looked like he was just warming up, getting himself ready to go. He's definitely [doing] a lot of stuff."

Jeter started hitting in the cage and fielding grounders on the infield grass Jan. 28, and he repeated the routine Monday in addition to the running. While fielding grounders, he moved a bit more laterally than he had in the previous two weeks, part of his typical pre-spring training routine, he said.

"It's all a progression," he said. "Even if I didn't break my ankle, there's steps to it. This is just another step in the process that I would be doing anyway. When I originally start taking ground balls, I take them on the grass and then I don't move [laterally]. Then I take them on the grass and I start to move, then I back up. It's all the same as years before."

But because of the injury, general manager Brian Cashman has said "guardrails" will be up to ensure that Jeter doesn't do too much too soon. The goal, as all involved have said, is having him ready for Opening Day, not the exhibition opener in 11 days.

"There's no number," Jeter said of a preferred number of exhibition at-bats. "I've been in spring trainings where I've gotten a lot, I've been in spring trainings where I've been with the WBC [World Baseball Classic] where I haven't gotten many. So I don't think there's a particular number. I think it's just when you feel comfortable. Get off to a good start, they say you don't need a lot of at-bats; you don't, they say you need more."

Notes & quotes:David Aardsma, who spent most of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery -- he healed in time to make one appearance in September -- is looking forward to competing for a bullpen spot. "I'm excited about it," said Aardsma, 31, who saved a combined 69 games for the Mariners in 2009-10. "Ready to get going and have a real spring training for once." The Yankees signed the righthander last February with the idea of having him healthy in time to be a part of this year's bullpen. "I feel normal," he said. "I feel like the same spot I used to be in in spring training. It's coming together." . . . Yankees pitchers and catchers report Tuesday morning, with most having their physicals then, and the first workout is Wednesday.

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