ARLINGTON, Texas - Derek Jeter ran Tuesday for the first time during his latest rehab stint, clearing what had been described as one of his biggest hurdles for a possible return Saturday.
Although it was only a series of light jogs in the outfield, the Yankees shortstop said all went well and that his strained right quadriceps hasn't felt sore for several days.
"Everything was good,'' Jeter said. "It's a first step but it's [soreness] not there, which is good. That's the key is you don't want to feel it, and I don't feel it.''
Jeter, who has been on the disabled list since July 12, is eligible to be activated Saturday. Although there are still a few more steps he must clear before then, Jeter sounded as if that's a strong possibility.
Jeter was asked which step will tell him he's ready. "Probably my 15 days being up, that's the one thing I need to happen,'' he said. "I'm sure I'll do more tomorrow [Wednesday], we'll step it up and increase it. Everything's good so far.''
Jeter added later: "I'll be ready as soon as possible. If I could play today, I'd be lobbying to play today. So I'm sure I'll lobby to play on Saturday.''
Jeter has yet to run the bases, a likely progression Wednesday or Thursday. But he took a full round of batting practice Tuesday, then took infield.
"It's just a day-to-day thing,'' Jeter said. "They haven't told me you need to pass any kind of test. So hopefully it goes good the next couple of days and then we'll get going.''
Jeter began tracking pitches in the bullpen over the weekend in Boston and steadily has done more each day here.
Joe Girardi said in Boston "anything's possible'' when asked if Jeter could be ready to rejoin the team Saturday against the Rays at the Stadium.
"Obviously, the biggest hurdle he'd have to clear is running,'' Girardi said. "I wouldn't rule it out but I wouldn't say I'm 100-percent sure he'll be back [Saturday].''
Jeter said continuing to feel "nothing'' in his quad indicates the chances of such a return are better than they were last week.
Jeter, whenever he returns, will be coming back to a team in desperate need of some kind of offensive jolt.
Entering last night's game against the Rangers, the Yankees ranked 12th in the AL in runs (387), 13th in home runs (88), 13th in OBP (.308) and 14th in slugging (.373). It had been 20 innings since their last extra-base hit.
The futile numbers lead the list of reasons the club was in conversations with the Cubs about acquiring outfielder Alfonso Soriano. The former Yankee has 17 home runs, a total that would automatically make him second on the team, behind Robinson Cano's 21.
"It's tough,'' Jeter said after Monday night's 3-0 loss to the Rangers. "We've put way too much pressure on our pitching staff. It's hard to pitch like that when we're not scoring runs for them. You feel as though you've got to be perfect.
"When you're out there -- and I'm not a pitcher, but I can only assume -- I've been in situations where you feel like you've got to score 10 runs and that puts a lot of pressure on your offense.
"But right now, it's too much pressure we're putting on our pitching staff. We've got to find ways to score runs, that's the bottom line. There's no way to sugarcoat it. We just haven't been very good lately.''