With green light, Jeter hits, fields, plays catch

With green light, Jeter hits, fields, plays catch

With green light, Jeter hits, fields, plays catch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter hit in the batting cage, fielded grounders at shortstop and played catch at the Yankees' Minor League complex on Friday, his first day of work since being cleared to resume baseball activities.

Jeter was examined Thursday in Charlotte, N.C., by Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed the initial surgery last October on Jeter's fractured left ankle. The Yankees said in a statement Thursday that Jeter's ankle is "healing," an encouraging development for Jeter after being held back by another fracture during Spring Training.

"They gave me the green light, so that's good," Jeter said Friday. "I'm looking forward to it."

Jeter has been reluctant to set a timetable for his eventual return, after not making his initial target of Opening Day. The Yankees have said they expect him to play in Major League games at some point after the All-Star break. That means Jeter's recovery will be slow and methodical, as he demonstrated Friday.

The Yankees captain took swings off a tee and on flips from trainers inside a batting cage before playing catch and long toss with Eduardo Nunez. Jeter and Nunez then fielded ground balls, with relatively limited movement, on the infield grass before moving back farther onto the infield dirt.

Jeter has been cleared to run on the field, but he did not do so Friday.

"Everything's a progression," Jeter said. "As soon as I can do it, I'll do it. As soon as I can come back, I'll come back. In terms of everyday schedule, I don't know what that is. It's more, take it one day at a time."

Elsewhere around the Yankees' Minor League facilities ...

• Right-hander Michael Pineda (right anterior labral tear) pitched in an intrasquad game across the street at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Yankees' Spring Training home, throwing 5 2/3 innings and allowing no runs on three hits while striking out five and walking one. He threw 74 pitches, 57 for strikes. Pineda hasn't appeared in the Majors since being acquired from the Mariners in a trade for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi. He started his Minor League rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Tampa on Sunday, throwing 4 1/3 innings against Lakeland.

The Yankees had Pineda pitch in Tampa, rather than having him pitch for another Minor League affiliate, to get him in a more controlled environment. He appeared to come out of the outing fine, although some innings were ended with two outs and others stretched on after three outs.

• Third baseman Alex Rodriguez (right hip surgery) hit for five rounds of batting practice on a back field, took more than 30 ground balls at third base with throws to first and second base, charged slow rollers and bunts from third base and ran sprints in the outfield.

Rodriguez has been mostly quiet about his rehab process since arriving in Tampa on May 6. The Yankees expect him to return at some point after the All-Star break.

• Outfielder Curtis Granderson (fractured knuckle on left pinky) threw and ran in the outfield Friday morning. He said he will visit a doctor in New York next week, and they will determine the next step in his rehab process and whether he can ramp up his workload after that meeting.

• Nunez (strained left oblique) did most of the same work as Jeter on Friday, hitting in the batting cage, playing catch and fielding grounders at shortstop. The only difference between the two was that Nunez threw to first base, whereas Jeter just flipped the balls he fielded to a trainer near second base.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.