Progress for Derek Jeter, who fields 41 grounders

Derek Jeter reacts after striking out during the

Derek Jeter reacts after striking out during the fifth inning of a game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. (Aug. 24, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

DETROIT -- It's not progress indicative of a return anytime soon for Derek Jeter, but as Joe Girardi said, it's something.

"He's on the field,'' Girardi said before Saturday's game. "That's better than what it was last week.''

For the first time in nearly three weeks, Jeter took the field in Tampa at the team's minor-league complex and fielded 41 grounders. He also hit indoors off a tee and played catch.

Jeter hasn't played in a game since March 23, when his left ankle gave him trouble while he ran the bases. Until Saturday, he had been relegated to playing long-toss and strengthening exercises. There still is no timetable for when he might appear in a rehab game, let alone a major-league game.

Nuñez still pained

Eduardo Nuñez, who left Friday's game after getting hit in the right biceps with a pitch, was available only as a pinch runner.

"Feels better but still sore, still a lot of pain,'' Nuñez said before the game. "I don't think I can throw today.''

Afterward, Nuñez said he tried to throw before the game but felt too much pain. He said it is unlikely that he'll be able to play Sunday.

Still, he felt fortunate after seeing a replay of the fastball from Doug Fister that hit him. "I got lucky,'' he said. "I thought I broke my arm. I never felt so much pain before.''

Stop it

Girardi had a heated discussion with plate umpire Jerry Layne before the bottom of the sixth inning, upset at balks by Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque he felt weren't being called.

"I think Alburquerque balks every time,'' Girardi said. "One time his foot goes up twice, one time it goes up once. If a guy's trying to steal a base, it goes up twice. I think it's a balk. Obviously, he [Layne] doesn't think it's a balk. I don't think there's any question about it.''

Granderson moving along

After a workout in Tampa on Saturday, Curtis Granderson (broken right forearm) told The Associated Press that he could resume throwing soon. He said he is scheduled to have follow-up X-rays Tuesday and hopes to receive clearance to begin swinging a fungo bat.

Girardi said Hiroki Kuroda, who left Wednesday's start after his right middle finger was clipped by a line drive, felt good and still is scheduled to start Monday in Cleveland. Kuroda threw his regularly scheduled bullpen session Friday and felt no ill effects a day later . . . Cody Eppley was sent down to make room on the roster for Phil Hughes.

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