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Brian Cashman: Derek Jeter won't return to Yankees on Saturday

Jeter talks to the media after reporting to

Jeter talks to the media after reporting to spring training at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2013) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Derek Jeter will not be ready to come off the disabled list when he's first eligible Saturday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday.

"That ain't happening," Cashman said.

Now that Jeter's original goal of playing on Opening Day has come and gone, the Yankees are intent on taking their time with Jeter's rehab from October surgery on his left ankle.

"He's not taking ground balls or batting. He's just doing physical therapy," Cashman said. "It's not batting practice, it's not ground balls. He's not doing anything on the field."

Which means it might still be a while before Jeter is back on the field. "He'll be ready when he's ready," Cashman said. "I can't tell you when that's going to be."

Jeter's rehab was slowed considerably last month by soreness. The last time the 38-year-old shortstop played in a game situation was March 23 in a minor-league exhibition. He planned to play nine innings in another minor-league exhibition the next day but instead was shut down for the second time in a week.

At the time, Cashman said "the more realistic goal" was for Jeter to be ready April 6, not Opening Day. But now that projection has come and gone, and the Yankees are done with the speculation game.

"We don't have a date," Cashman said. "There's no date."

Jeter said last week that he was done putting "dates" on his goals.

During Monday's Opening Day at the Stadium in the Bronx, Jeter was at the team's minor-league complex in Tampa, Fla. It was the first Opening Day Jeter had missed in 12 years. Jeter threw with other players in the outfield for eight minutes, then went inside the complex for two hours before leaving without speaking to reporters.

Jeter played in only five spring training games, although only the last two games were back to back. The trouble started March 19 when the Yankees made Jeter a last-minute scratch before a game against the Phillies in Clearwater because of "stiffness" in his surgically repaired ankle. Jeter was given a cortisone shot the next day.

Jeter played in a game with the Triple-A team March 23. He was in the lineup as the designated hitter and grounded out four times. Jeter, however, seemed to run better each time out of the batter's box.

When the Yankees came north to start the regular season, Jeter stayed behind in Tampa and has done little baseball work since.

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