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Jeter disappointed to miss Opening Day

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter said on Tuesday that it will be "disappointing" to begin the season on the disabled list, and he has accepted the reality that he will miss his first Opening Day start for the Yankees since 2001.

"Pretty much, that looks like what's going to happen," Jeter said. "I've told you guys all along my goal was to be ready on Opening Day, and I didn't reach it. Yeah, it's disappointing."

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Jeter felt soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle after grounding out in four Minor League at-bats as a designated hitter on Saturday. He said that he would receive more treatment at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday and does not know when he will be back on the diamond.

"It's disappointing I won't be ready on Opening Day," Jeter said. "The big picture is, I'll be ready. I just didn't make the Opening Day goal."

Jeter has been in 16 of the Yankees' past 17 Opening Day lineups, missing only the 2001 opener, when Luis Sojo filled in while Jeter was on the disabled list with a quadriceps injury. Once Jeter is retroactively assigned to the DL, the first date he will be eligible to play is April 6 in Detroit.

Jeter said that he does not want to circle any dates on the calendar, but the Yankees have said that they will not activate Jeter unless he proves that he can play nine innings of shortstop on consecutive days. He has played no more than five innings in any game this spring.

"As hard as it is sometimes, you have to try to look at the big picture," Jeter said. "My goal was to be ready Opening Day, but the goal also is to be ready for the season. I pushed it to try to get to Opening Day and it didn't work out, but I still have to be ready for the majority of the season."

Jeter said that the past two days of rest have helped the soreness in his ankle and that, five months after surgery, he has been told that what he is experiencing should be considered normal.

"I heard from the doc yesterday; it's supposed to happen," Jeter said. "Some things, you can't control. Everyone talks about a setback; it's a setback for Opening Day, but it's not a setback in terms of the recovery process because that's what is supposed to happen."

Jeter said that the events have "not at all" changed his belief that he can play shortstop regularly this season. While he would like to be in New York to be present for the April 1 opener against the Red Sox, it is likely that Jeter will instead remain behind in Tampa to continue his rehab.

"Whatever gets me ready to play the soonest," Jeter said. "If it calls for me to be here to do stuff to get ready to play sooner, I will stay here and get ready to play sooner."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["opening_day" ] }
{"event":["opening_day" ] }