Optimism building for Jeter's return to Bronx

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter fields a ground ball Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter fields a ground ball during the first inning against the Rochester Red Wings. (July 8, 2013) Photo Credit: The Scranton Times-Tribune/Butch Comegys

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Derek Jeter seems to be closing in fast on his return to the Bronx.

For the second straight day, Joe Girardi didn't shy away from the possibility of the shortstop, who has missed the entire season recovering from a broken left ankle, making it back sometime this weekend. "Anything's possible at this point," Girardi said before last night's loss to the Royals. "A lot of things have happened around here this year."

Jeter, who played his third rehab game Monday with Scranton, had a scheduled day off Tuesday. The 39-year-old is supposed to play with Triple-A Scranton Wednesdayand Thursday, and a return to the big leagues as soon as Friday night can't be ruled out.

"He's got to play in the field a little bit longer and back-to-back," Girardi said.

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A-Rod going slowly

Unsurprisingly, Alex Rodriguez's rehab hasn't been as accelerated as Jeter's. After a day off Monday, A-Rod had three at-bats for advanced Class A Tampa and went 0-for-3. The third baseman is in the early stages of a 20-day rehab stint that could return him to the Yankees just after the All-Star break. But though Girardi said Rodriguez, who turns 38 July 27, hasn't had any setbacks with the hip, the word from several of those who have seen him play is that they don't see movement representative of a big-league third baseman.

"He had limited range before the surgery," one talent evaluator said.

Hafner's troubles

DH Travis Hafner, after an April in which he hit .318 with a .438 OBP with six homers and 17 RBIs, has struggled. The 36-year-old is in a 13-for-58 skid, hitting .217 for the season with 12 homers and 37 RBIs.

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