Derek Jeter singles, continues to feel healthy

Derek Jeter hits a single during his rehab Derek Jeter hits a single during his rehab baseball game with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. (July 7, 2013) Photo Credit: The Scranton Times-Tribune/Butch Comegys

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MOOSIC, Pa. - Derek Jeter playfully bragged that his legs are healthy enough -- and that he still is spry enough -- for him to score from first on a hit.

And Jeter did just that Sunday.

Jeter scored his first run with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre . . . trotting around the bases on Randy Ruiz's three-run homer in the third inning.

"You see," he said with a grin, "I scored from first easily."

Joking aside, Jeter appeared to run with relative ease during the game, his second on this minor-league rehab assignment, and reported no pain in his twice-fractured left ankle.

"Every day, it's a little bit better," Jeter said, though he said he still thinks about the injury.

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Jeter, who batted leadoff as the designated hitter, had a third-inning single to left, a strikeout and two walks in the RailRiders' 6-2 victory over Lehigh Valley. He played seven innings in the afternoon game, which followed Saturday's night game.

Jeter, 39, did legitimately run the bases in the seventh, going from first to third on Brent Lillibridge's two-out RBI single. He didn't appear to go full-speed but slid into third safely as the late throw went home.

"I've done a lot of that in Florida," he said, referring to the simulated games he played before receiving clearance to begin the rehab assignment. "It's not like I'm just coming off the couch and playing here."

He will play for the RailRiders again Monday night, starting at shortstop in a 7 p.m. game against Rochester.

Jeter said his return to the Bronx ultimately will depend on what he reports to the Yankees.

"They're gonna have input, but I tell them how I feel," he said. "If I feel good, then I'll be back. But I understand I have to play some [rehab] games."

Jeter's single -- his first hit as a RailRider -- was a hard grounder a few feet beyond the shortstop's reach in the third.

"I'm sure if I [hadn't], people would start the 'he hasn't gotten a hit' countdown," said Jeter, who struck out in the fifth on a low off-speed pitch from lefty Tom Cochran. "As long as I'm seeing the ball good, I'm fine. The results aren't the No. 1 priority."

Jeter walked in the first but was erased on a 6-4-3 double play. His slide in the basepath midway to second, to duck the throw, was his first during the rehab process, he said.

Jeter broke his left ankle while fielding a grounder during Game 1 of the American League Championship Series last October. He was expected to be ready for Opening Day but wasn't, and after he continued to have physical issues, it was discovered in mid-April that he had suffered a fracture elsewhere in the ankle.

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In Saturday's game, he had only one ball hit to him at shortstop, a roller about a step to his left on which he got a forceout at second. In drills Sunday, he took about 15 ground balls, one of which resulted in his signature jump throw to first.

Jeter said he regularly checks the AL East standings and, given the parity, thinks "whoever plays the best" in the second half will win the division. But he then downplayed the impact his return will have.

"One person coming back isn't really gonna make that much of a difference," said Jeter, who missed his 88th game with the Yankees on Sunday. "But our team has been doing well up until this point. I'm sure we'll be all right."

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