Derek Jeter is not giving a timeline to when he will return from his broken ankle. At the same time, he has little doubt he will be able to come back from the injury at some time.
Jeter made his first remarks at Yankee Stadium after last week’s CT scan revealed a small fracture in his surgically repaired left ankle.
“Whenever it heals, I’ll be back,” Jeter said during the 18 1/2 minute press conference before Thursday night’s game with Toronto. “That’s the best way to put it.”
While not currently issuing an estimated time for his return, Jeter also said that he didn’t regret initially setting one.
“I don’t [regret it],” Jeter said of placing a timeline on his return. “My job is to be ready for Opening Day and I feel like I didn’t do my job. My job was to be ready. Unfortunately I wasn’t but I don’t regret it because I think you have to set goals.”
Jeter and the Yankees were hoping he would be activated by May 1 but that time period was going to be missed even before last week’s news. Jeter already had a metal plate and screws inserted into the ankle after breaking it in Game 1 of the ALCS against Detroit.
“It’s the same bone but it’s in a different spot,” Jeter said. “I’m not exactly sure when I did it. When we took the CT scan before spring training had started, the bone had healed. I’m not one to complain about something being sore. You just go out there and play which I did and it just never went away.
“So I wasn’t able to run. I wasn’t able to do things that I wanted to do. So I had it checked out again and that’s when they found out it was fractured again. I would assume it’s probably been like that for some time. But that’s just an assumption, there’s no way to tell.
Jeter is currently in a walking boot but did not wear one to his press conference because that would have delayed the start even longer.
“It’s been a difficult process,” Jeter said. “It’s been a frustrating process. Just when you’re think you’re close to coming back, you have a setback. So it’s part of the healing process. When you get hurt it’s supposed to take time. Unfortunately it’s taking more time than I anticipated.”
Jeter will return at least one month after he turns 39 on June 26. He led the majors in hits with 216 last year and batted .316 in 2012 and .327 after the All-Star break in 2011.
“When you have doubt that’s when you’re in trouble,” Jeter said. “I’ve been told this is going to heal and when it heals I’ll be ready to go. It’s frustrating that I can’t magically make it heal sooner than it’s taking but I have no doubt in my mind.”
“The doc told me when it heals it heals and you’ll be fine,” Jeter said. “Sometimes it takes a little longer. So I have no doubt.”
As determined as Jeter is about returning, manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman are cautiously hopeful.
“Our hope is that he’ll just pick up where he left off last year,” Girardi said. “Once we get this all healed, I don’t think any of us are going to know until we get to that point. We were under the impression that he would heal up and play shortstop for us. He’s had a setback here that we have to deal with but hopefully we get him back and he’s the same player he was at the end of last year.
“I hope to get him back and he’s physically able [to play],” Cashman said. “Obviously Derek’s never done anything but have success. I would expect him to be a successful player like we’ve always gotten from him. It’s hard to expect anything otherwise.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.