Derek Jeter's much-anticipated, long-delayed return to the majors will come Thursday.
"He's going to finish his rehab in the big leagues," general manager Brian Cashman said. "It's just the roster changes that occurred in the game [Wednesday] night made us do some adjustments — obviously [Travis] Hafner going down. Derek was going to be the DH in Scranton tonight. So we lost Hafner in a day-to-day situation and we right away the thought popped in my head [to activate Jeter]."
Hafner injured his left foot fouling a ball off it in the batting cage between at-bats Wednesday night. An MRI was negative and it was announced he was day-to-day with a bruise.
It was reported Wednesday night that Jeter would likely return to the Yankees on Friday when the team began a series with Minnesota. The Hafner injury has sped up that timetable.
"We had a conversation last night with [special advisor] Gene Michael, who was at Scranton. He said he was moving around well and he is going to hit," Cashman said. "He hasn't completed the full profile we set up for him on his rehab. I would stay in touch with Derek, he feels good and the Gardner circumstance too, so now Joe is in a situation, today, a day game, you lose Gardy. He's day-to-day. You lose Travis and the possiblity oft something else could happen to the outfield, it just was an obvious situation. He could DH today in Scranton or he can DH today in New York."
Gardner injured his right leg in Wednesday night's game. An MRI was negative and it was diagnosed as a bruise.
There were some reports Wednesday night of Jeter having limited range defensively. He also committed a throwing error in his final rehab game. But Cashman said he wasn't concerned.
"It's hard to say," Cashman said. "I hear he's moving surprisingly well, so I think it's easier to say at his age and the double break that he would lose a step or half step but I think he's moving extremely well from what I'm told. So it's hard for me to say. I haven't heard anybody tell me that he's missing a step."
Jeter broke his ankle last postseason against the Tigers in the ALCS and underwent a grueling offseason of rehabilitation in order to be back for the start of the 2013 season. Instead, before his spring training had barely begun, it was discovered he'd suffered a new fracture in the foot.
The timetable was readjusted first for a May return and then more likely around the All-Star break.
The Yankees have struggled offensively this season with Jeter one of many stars on the DL. Curtis Granderson, Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira have now all spent two stints on the DL, with the latter two out of the season.
The Yankees host the Royals on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. Jeter is expected to be in the lineup as the designated hitter.
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