Yankees think Derek Jeter needs mini-spring training before returning

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter adjusts the New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter adjusts the laces on his glove before a spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Tampa, Fla. (March 13, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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DETROIT -- Joe Girardi gave voice Friday to those in the organization who believe Derek Jeter is a long way from returning, saying the shortstop likely will have to go through another de facto spring training.

"I think so," Girardi said. "I don't think you can say, play him three or four games and you're going to be back. He's going to have to go through somewhat of a spring training."

Girardi said he doesn't necessarily think that will be the typical six weeks. "Position players always tell you they don't need six weeks, pitchers do," Girardi said. "How many weeks he needs, I think it depends on how he bounces back each day when he goes out and plays."

And therein lies the problem. Jeter hasn't played in a game of any kind since March 23, when his left ankle clearly was giving him trouble as he ran the bases. He hasn't tested the ankle on the field since and has been relegated this week to playing long-toss and engaging in strengthening exercises at the team's minor-league complex in Tampa. Said Girardi, "Our hope is to get him back on the field soon."

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Kuroda OK

Hiroki Kuroda, who left Wednesday's start with a bruised right middle finger after a line drive grazed it, threw his regularly scheduled bullpen session Friday and is on target to start Monday in Cleveland.

"Looks like it, but we'll see how he is tomorrow," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "It was about 90 percent of what he'd normally do, but there was no problem with it [the finger]."

Kuroda, who threw 36 pitches, said he's not yet 100 percent but expects to be close enough by Monday.

"It went well," he said. "For me, I'm going to make that start."

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