03/08/2013 4:48 PM ET
Johnson striving to make most of opportunity
By Adam Berry and Matthew Leach / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Dan Johnson arrived at Yankees camp in February as an outside contender for a bench spot, a non-roster invitee hoping to go north with the big club. One injury changed his circumstances quite a bit.
With Mark Teixeira out until May due to a right wrist injury, Johnson has a chance to secure a significant amount of playing time in the early part of the season. He and Juan Rivera figure to be the primary first basemen in Teixeira's absence.
So, in a sense, Johnson's audition began Friday, in his first start since the Yankees learned they would be doing without Teixeira for two months. He went 0-for-2 with no major adventures or misadventures on defense.
"What I want to do is show everything," Johnson said. "All aspects, down to baserunning and fielding. Picking balls out of the dirt, positioning, everything. That's what I feel. Hitting, obviously, but this is my 13th year of doing this. I know that hitting is going to come. In Spring Training, you get different at-bats off different guys and you never kind of settle down. I know that will come, so [I need] patience with that. Other than that, it's everything."
Robertson cleared for return to action
JUPITER, Fla. -- David Robertson is close to getting back in a game for the Yankees. Manager Joe Girardi said Friday that Robertson, who has dealt with some right shoulder discomfort, has been cleared to pitch.
"I think he feels fine," Girardi said.
Robertson's condition was always considered minor, but it's still a relief for the Yankees any time they get good injury news these days. Girardi said that Robertson's next time throwing off a mound could be a bullpen session or a game appearance, but either way would be soon.
The right-handed setup man last pitched in a game on March 1.
Fully healed, Jeter nearing Grapefruit debut
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees captain Derek Jeter returned to camp Friday after getting word Thursday that his surgically repaired left ankle was 100 percent healed. That should be the final step before Jeter can get on the field for his first Spring Training game -- something that could happen very soon.
Jeter visited Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., for a previously scheduled appointment in which he received clearance. He couldn't remember the last time he saw Dr. Anderson, but he guessed it was a week or two before Spring Training, and at that point the break hadn't fully healed.
Jeter's clean bill of health didn't result in a noticeable change to his routine Friday at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Jeter went through his usual workout, though it included a simulated game against Andy Pettitte.
"It's always reassuring when someone says that something that's broke's not broken anymore," Jeter said. "Now it's just getting through the normal aches and pain that come around it. As long as you know a break has healed, the aches and pains go away in time."
Jeter still hasn't run the bases at full speed, but manager Joe Girardi said that wouldn't necessarily be an issue. Jeter's first game appearance will come as a designated hitter, and Girardi said that Jeter will not need to go all-out in order to DH.
"I'm OK with that," Girardi said. "I won't be giving him any must-go's, those type of things. So I'll see how he feels and go from there.
At one point, Jeter said he would have to do a full-speed run around the bases before he felt comfortable playing in a Spring Training game, but he backed off that point a bit Friday, saying he'll be fine "as long as I can get around."
His first appearance could come this weekend, possibly Sunday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., but more likely Monday at home against the Cardinals.
"As soon as I'm able to play," Jeter said, "I'll play."
Girardi, however, did not entirely rule out a game as early as Saturday. The two will hash out a plan on Saturday morning.
"I'll talk to him tomorrow when we get back, see where he's at," Girardi said Friday. "See what the plan is and where he physically feels like he's at, if he feels that he's physically ready to go."
Pettitte could make first spring start Wednesday
TAMPA, Fla. -- Andy Pettitte threw a simulated game Friday morning against three hitters, including Derek Jeter, and said afterward that he's ready to make his Spring Training debut.
Pettitte tossed three simulated innings and said he felt good, though he noted that his fastball command wasn't as sharp as it was in his previous simulated game on Sunday.
"But everything else was good," Pettitte said. "Hoping to be able to get into a game now. I feel really good. Hopefully we'll get into a game the next time. Everything's feeling good."
The 40-year-old left-hander admitted it also felt just a little unusual to pitch to Jeter, who went 1-for-5 with a walk in the simulated game.
"Not that big of a deal," Pettitte said. "It was a lot stranger when I was pitching for the Astros and came over here and pitched against him."
If Pettitte remains on a normal schedule with four days of rest between outings, he would be in line to start Wednesday against the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.