Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter not only took a few steps in his recovery, he made them running.
Jeter, who suffered a setback in his return from an ankle injury, ran on a field for the first time in several weeks Tuesday and New York manager Joe Girardi said the 38-year-old superstar is making some solid progress.
"He looked as good as at any point that I had seen him in spring training," said Girardi, who has been watching videotapes of Jeter's workouts in Tampa, Fla.
Jeter did some sprints, took grounders and hit indoors at the team's training complex. He hasn't played in a game since March 23, when the left ankle he broke in Game 1 of the ALCS last October bothered him while running. He reported stiffness and soreness and the Yankees decided to shut down the 13-time All-Star.
Because of the setback, Jeter was placed on the disabled list March 31 and there's still no timetable on when he will be activated. Jeter joined an All-Star-studded DL which includes Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira.
Speaking before Tuesday's game against the Indians, Girardi gave a cautiously optimistic report on the Yankees' captain.
"He's doing more and more each day," Girardi said. "He moved more on his ground balls. He feels better. He's ramping it a little bit each day. That's good. He's not 100 per cent, but he was able to do them. To me, that's the big step. I'm really curious how he's going to feel tomorrow."
Girardi said the plan is for Jeter to run again outside on Wednesday. Jeter had only been running on an underwater treadmill. Girardi would not commit to an exact date when Jeter will return.
"I think about when he's going to be back, but I don't really have a date in my head when he's going to be back," Girardi said. "I am happy to see he's on the field."
Girardi isn't sure how many games Jeter will have to play on a rehab assignment before he's ready to rejoin the Yankees, who after playing four games in Cleveland open a series at home against Baltimore on Friday.
"It probably depends on how he can do back to back [games]," Girardi said. "How his body responds. It's not like it's going to be two or three games. It's going to have to be more. You're going to have to see him maybe four out of five days."
Granderson has been swinging a bat underwater the past few days as he recovers from a broken arm. Girardi said the centre fielder may be able to hit off a tee by the weekend.