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Jeter starts running, but return date uncertain

Yanks cautiously optimistic after captain also takes grounders, hits in cage

Jeter starts running, but return date uncertain

CLEVELAND -- Yankees captain Derek Jeter has advanced to running on the field and continues to progress as he works out in Tampa, Fla., but it is still too early for the club to offer a timetable for his expected return to big league action.

Manager Joe Girardi said that Jeter also took ground balls at shortstop and hit in a batting cage at the club's Minor League complex. Jeter told head athletic trainer Steve Donohue that his surgically repaired left ankle is feeling better, and the Yankees plan to continue increasing his activity.

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"He did some sprints," Girardi said. "It's not 100 percent, but he was able to do them, and to me that's a big step. I'm really curious to see how he's going to feel tomorrow."

Jeter has not played in a game since March 23, when he had four at-bats as a designated hitter in a Minor League contest and then felt soreness in his ankle. Girardi said that the Yankees shot video of Jeter running on Tuesday, which the manager viewed in Cleveland.

"I am happy to see that he's on the field. That's pleasing to all of us," Girardi said. "You can see him running. It's not 100 percent. You don't know how he's going to react tomorrow.

"I don't really want to put a timetable on it because I don't know how he's going to feel tomorrow after what he did. Before he'd been running on a treadmill in the water. It's really hard to say."

Girardi said that the Yankees will eventually want to see Jeter play four out of five games at the Minor League level, and though Jeter does not necessarily have to play shortstop for nine innings in back-to-back games, Girardi said Jeter would have to at least play seven or eight innings.

"Two innings, to me, is not really going to make a big difference," Girardi said. "It's the back-to-back-to-back; how he responds the next day is my concern. I think we'll be able to tell by the way he's moving. He's not going to be able to hide it, I don't think."

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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