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Derek Jeter plays five innings, gets two hits

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter warms up before a

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter warms up before a minor league baseball rehab start with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in a game against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. (July 6, 2013) Credit: The Scranton Times-Tribune/Butch Comegys

MOOSIC, Pa. -- If there's a player in Triple-A right now who more than anyone else wants to prove he's ready to make an immediate impact with the big-league club, it's probably not some hotshot prospect. It's Derek Jeter.

"I'm always anxious to get back to New York," Jeter said Thursday night after playing five innings at shortstop as the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost to the Pawtucket Red Sox, 5-2. "The most important thing is physically, I feel good. Running, sliding all felt fine and there were no issues."

Jeter said he will play for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre again Friday night but was unsure of an innings limit and if he'd play the field.

Jeter, who batted second in the first game of his latest rehab assignment, lined a double to the gap in left-centerfield on the first pitch of his first at-bat.

The ball reached the outfield wall, which enabled him to pull into second easily, without a throw. He eventually scored on a double by Dan Johnson.

Jeter, on the disabled list since Aug. 5 because of a grade 1 strain of his right calf, attempted a bunt on the first pitch of his second at-bat, but the ball went foul. Jeter later reached on a forceout before being forced at second after a slide into the base.

In his third and final at-bat, Jeter hit an RBI single up the middle on the sixth pitch he saw.

Jeter committed an error in the fourth when he ranged to his left and didn't come up with a ground ball cleanly. "It was easy. I really don't know what happened on that one,'' he said. "I don't know if I took my eye off it, but I know it shouldn't have happened.''

On his only other chance, Jeter fielded a weakly hit grounder and made an accurate throw to first on the run to end the fourth.

Jeter, 39, has been limited to five games with the Yankees, the same amount of games he has played for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, because of ankle, quadriceps and calf injuries. He's 4-for-19 with a home run with the Yankees.

After breaking his left ankle in the postseason last October, Jeter vowed to be ready by Opening Day. He wasn't, and injuries have piled up for him since.

After breaking the same ankle during spring training, he tweaked a quad in his first game back in July. Then he strained his right calf, even while admittedly not running the bases at full speed.

Meanwhile, the Yankees (68-59) have won five straight and 10 of 12. They are six games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox and 31/2 games behind Oakland, which currently owns the second wild-card berth.

"I want to be there,'' Jeter said. "I think I've missed more games this year than I had in my entire career combined due to injuries, so it's been a pretty frustrating season for me. I want to get back as soon as possible, but I understand there's a process.''

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