TAMPA, FLORIDA – New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has taken on-field batting practice for the first time since his 2013 season was cut short by injuries.
Jeter hit with authority to all fields during a five-round, 39-swing session Monday at the Yankees’ minor league complex. Jeter also took grounders at shortstop for the first time this year, fielding 34 balls at his usual position.
“Everything is good so far, knock on wood,” Jeter said.
Jeter, who turns 40 in June, had hit in an indoor batting cage and fielded grounders on infield grass the previous two weeks. He was limited to 17 games last year after breaking an ankle during the 2012 playoffs.
The Yankees captain is not worrying about those who doubt his ability to return from the severe injury.
“My job is to be ready to play,” Jeter said. “I remember when I was 35, everyone said that was it. He can’t play anymore. End of my career. So, it’s really nothing different. Eventually, somebody is going to be right, you know what I mean? You’re going to run out of numbers.”
Jeter broke his left ankle during the 2012 AL Championship Series. He played in just five spring training games last year and broke the ankle again in April during rehabilitation.
“This offseason is like a normal offseason,” said Jeter, who was in a walking boot until early January last year. “I’m four months ahead of where I was last year. Last year, quite honestly, I want to forget about it.”
Jeter missed the first 91 games of the 2013 season, then felt pain his right quadriceps when he returned July 11. He went back on the DL, returned July 28 for three games, then strained his right calf.
Back in the lineup on Aug. 26, he played through Sept. 7, when he left for a pinch runner after singling against Boston. Four days later the Yankees said his season was over. Jeter wound up hitting .190 (12-for-63) with one homer and seven RBIs.
Yankees pitchers, catcher and injured players start workouts Feb. 15. Jeter said he’ll remain at the minor league complex until the first full-squad big league workout on Feb. 20.
Parra, D-Backs agree
The Arizona Diamondbacks have avoided arbitration with Gerardo Parra by agreeing to a one-year, $4.85 million contract with the two-time Gold Glove outfielder.
Parra earned his second Gold Glove last season when he set a club record with 17 outfield assists. That Gold Glove was for right field. He earned one as a left fielder in 2011, making him the first player to win the award in two outfield positions.
Parra hit .268 with 48 RBIs in 156 games, reaching career highs in home runs (10), doubles (43), runs (79) and hits (161).
He had asked for $5.2 million and been offered $4.3 million in initial arbitration filings. He earned $2.35 million last year.
The deal leaves outfielder Mark Trumbo as Arizona’s lone arbitration-eligible player. General manager Kevin Towers said there is a substantial difference between the two sides in the Trumbo talks.
The team also extended the contracts of Towers and manager Kirk Gibson. The team would not divulge the lengths of the extension or even whether the lengths were the same for both.