Derek Jeter spoke briefly before Tuesday's game about his rehab from a calf injury, but the group interview session drew more laughs than firm answers.
It started with Jeter jokingly playing a game of having reporters attempt to guess the step he is at in his third rehab on the DL.
Taking ground balls?
Running the bases?
Taking ground balls was correct, but running the bases was not. The other correct answer was taking batting practice on the field which is a step above the famous “tee and toss” in the batting cage that has become part of manager Joe Girardi’s lexicon.
Jeter spent part of Tuesday hitting on the field for the first time since his calf injury landed him on the DL last week. He also did some light running in right field.
He is eligible for activation Sunday in Boston but as much as Jeter would like that to happen, it doesn’t appear likely
“I do what I’m told. I don’t know. I just don’t know,” Jeter said. “Like I told you, it’s a day-to-day thing. Tomorrow I don’t know. I know I’m going to Tampa Thursday, that’s all I know.”
Before doing some light running, Jeter said he intended to run harder soon but the input is out of his hands, saying “At that point, do you think I have any input at anything that goes on around here?”
The last time Jeter was activated from the DL was July 28 when he homered on the first pitch he saw against Tampa Bay. That didn’t require a series of rehab games like the build-up to his season debut on July 11 against Kansas City.
“I always think I can just jump back in,” he said. “I did last time, but like I said, I get it. They want me to go play somewhere else, I’ll go play somewhere else. So it’s entirely up to them. I’m not really in a power position to negotiate.”
Soriano bats second despite slump
When players are going for a milestone, the mentality is often to start pressing. That’s what Girardi thinks has happened to Alfonso Soriano leading up to his 2,000th career hit on Sunday.
Soriano reached the milestone with a solo home run of Justin Verlander. Going into that at-bat he had been 0-for-10. Since getting that milestone, Soriano is 0-for-5, but despite having one hit in his last 15 at-bats and hitting .193 (11-for-57), he batted second last night.
This was not necessarily done to shake things up as Soriano batted sixth Monday. Instead it likely had more to do with Girardi’s view that Soriano had come close to getting some hits.
“I’ve seen some [progress]. I thought he had some pretty good swings last night, he just missed the ball,” Girardi said. “I have a feeling that 2,000th hit kind of got in the way a little bit. He was maybe trying to do too much. I feel a lot better about him now that’s it over.”
Granderson feels progress is coming
Lost in the focus of Hiroki Kuroda’s gem and David Robertson’s escape act in place of a resting Mariano Rivera was the fact that Yankee fans got a good glimpse of Curtis Granderson’s left-handed swing that sent 47 balls over Yankee Stadium fence in the previous two seasons.
Granderson hit his first home run at home since hitting two in last year’s AL East clincher against the Red Sox on the final day of the regular season.
Granderson has had just 59 at-bats, which is similar to what he might get in spring training. He had just five hits in his first 28 at-bats before getting the eventual game-wining home run in the seventh inning.
“I’m getting there,” Granderon said. “[I’m] not there yet. There’s no way to mirror the four months I’ve missed up to this point and also the spring training.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.