04/09/2013 6:51 PM ET
Jeter starts running, but return date uncertain
Yanks cautiously optimistic after captain also takes grounders, hits in cage
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
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.
"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."
Yanks put Boesch through wringer in drills at first
CLEVELAND -- Brennan Boesch said the last time he played first base was in high school, but he has been taking a crash course at the position this week under the instruction of infield coach Mick Kelleher.
Having played only outfield in his professional career, Boesch slumped in his locker chair and said that he could "barely walk" after Kelleher's latest intensive session on Tuesday at Progressive Field, which consisted of peppering the 27-year-old with dozens of hot shots down the line.
"It's been a while; just trying to knock the rust off," Boesch said. "The coaching staff is helping me get comfortable there in case I'm needed in a situation. It's getting better every day, but you guys are used to [Mark] Teixeira out there.
"I've got him at least to help me out in the meantime. It's fun. It's a new challenge -- as if in baseball you need a new challenge, but here you go. It's another one for me."
Manager Joe Girardi said that the Yankees are trying to increase Boesch's versatility, but they are not looking to replace Lyle Overbay against right-handed pitching. Girardi also said that in the event of an injury, he'd be more likely to use Kevin Youkilis or Jayson Nix at first base right now.
"I'm not saying that I plan on throwing [Boesch] out there anytime soon, but I think the more flexibility you get as we watch him progress and take a lot more grounders, it might work," Girardi said.
Girardi said that Kelleher had to start with the basic fundamentals for Boesch, who has borrowed one of Overbay's spare gloves for the assignment.
"The footwork is pretty precise," Boesch said. "[Some people] think if you just throw a big guy over there, he's going to block the ball, but there's a lot more precision. You watch Tex take ground balls over there, the footwork is very precise where he's setting up to get the hop every time. That's why he's the Gold Glover that he is."
Boesch said that Teixeira has been "like the most positive guy ever" in discussing the position with him. Teixeira said that the main point he wanted to stress to Boesch was to not put too much pressure on himself and try to have fun with it.
"He's got a lot of talent," Teixeira said. "He's got a lot of natural ability that I think will progress into being a good first baseman. Being a natural left-hander, it's good. You have a guy who has nice long arms who, if he has to throw the ball to second base, he's got that left-handed throw. That makes it easier."
• The Yankees have re-signed left-hander Clay Rapada to a Minor League contract, and he will report to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Rapada was removed from the Yankees' 40-man roster last week and was expected to begin the season on the disabled list after dealing with left shoulder bursitis during Spring Training.
• Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson (fractured right forearm) has been cleared to swing a bat underwater and could progress to hitting soft-toss and off of a tee by the weekend, according to Girardi.
• Tuesday marked Yankees right-hander David Robertson's 28th birthday.
• On this date in 1996, Andy Pettitte logged the victory as the Yankees defeated the Royals, 7-3, as snow fell for the home opener at the original Yankee Stadium. The first-pitch temperature was 38 degrees and both Joe Girardi and Tino Martinez were booed during pregame introductions, replacing former popular Yankees Mike Stanley and Don Mattingly, respectively.