Jeter starts at shortstop in first rehab game
Derek Jeter was thrilled to be playing in a baseball game Saturday night, for the first time in nine months.
MOOSIC, Pa. -- Derek Jeter played in a real baseball game Saturday night, the first time in nine months.
The New York Yankees' shortstop and captain suited up for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, his first minor league rehab game on the road back to the big leagues.
Jeter went 0-for-2 with a walk and played five innings at shortstop before exiting the game as planned.
"It was fine. I didn't do much," Jeter said. "It was maybe the first time I sort of got a mini-standing ovation for grounding out."
Jeter led off in the bottom of the first inning and drew a five-pitch walk against lefty Raul Valdes (a former Yankee) of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. He did hit a line-drive foul down the third-base line during the at-bat.
In the third inning, Jeter lined out to second base, and in the fourth inning, he bounced out to third, again off Valdes. Jeter looked fine running down to first base in the fourth, his only real action on the basepaths. He only got one play in the field -- a routine grounder in the fifth inning, which he handled with ease.
"I just wanted to see pitches," he said. "That's all I really wanted, to have good at-bats, and just get back out there."
Jeter, who turned 39 in June, hasn't played in an official game since Oct. 13, 2012, when he suffered a broken left ankle in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers. He re-injured the ankle in spring training, and has missed the entire regular season thus far.
He admitted being nervous before Saturday's game.
"This is a little different because I've missed a lot of time," Jeter said. "I've missed nine months. Not nine months of games ... but I've never missed this amount of time."
Meanwhile, rehabbing teammate Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-2 with a run scored during his rehabilitation assignment Saturday night playing with the Yankees' Class A Tampa affiliate against the Brevard County Manatees.
Rodriguez played five innings. It was his first hit during his comeback after going 0-for-4 in his first two starts at Class A Charleston.
"I could see the ball better," Rodriguez said. "I thought I had better balance on the off-speed pitches."
In his third and final at-bat, Brevard County Manatees starting pitcher Cody Scarpetta plunked Rodriguez on his surgically repaired left hip. Rodriguez winced, put his hand over his hip and then trotted gingerly to first base. Scarpetta was then lifted from the game.
"It wasn't really the hip," Rodriguez said afterward. "It was the I.T. band. One of those funny bones."
The I.T. Band is the iliotibial band, a ligament that runs down the side of the leg. Rodriguez said he was hit by a curveball, and that he was fine.
Jeter will be back in the Scranton lineup Sunday as the designated hitter with it being a day game after a night game.
Beyond that, his rehab schedule and when he'll return to the Yankees remains to be seen.
"I want to play; I'm ready to play," Jeter said. "I understand that I have to play some games here, but I look forward to getting back as soon as I can."
Michael Pineda, who the Yankees acquired in January 2012 from the Seattle Mariners, started Saturday's game for the RailRiders -- his fifth rehab start after shoulder surgery last year, and his first one at Triple-A.
Pineda got the win, pitching five innings, giving up two runs on four hits, with seven strikeouts and two walks. His fastball topped out at 94 miles per hour, but he was hitting that number consistently.
The game was played in front of a sellout crowd of 10,000 fans at PNC Field.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com contributor Peter Kerasotis and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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