MOOSIC – Sunday afternoon marked some season firsts for rehabbing star Derek Jeter.
The New York Yankees captain finished 1-for-2 with two walks, a single and a run while serving as the RailRiders designated hitter at PNC Field. But it was doing little things in game action for the first time since spring training that was the most notable.
Jeter began the game the same way he started Saturday’s contest, leading off with a walk against Lehigh Valley left-hander Tom Cochran. Unlike his first game, when he was stranded on first and didn’t get a chance to run the bases, he ran a little bit during a double play groundout. He got a little more than halfway to second before hitting a slide not trying to break up the twin-killing. He said it was the first time he slid since his rehab began.
“It was a double play so I’ve never been one to peel off and run away so I just slide wherever I am,” said Jeter, who will play shortstop for the RailRiders in tonight’s 7:05 game against Rochester.
During his second plate appearance, he ran into something for the first time during the rehab stint, stepping to the plate with a runner on base. He then accomplished a couple more firsts in his two games. First, he lined a single to left on an 0-1 pitch. He then scored on a three-run home run by Randy Ruiz.
“You see I scored from first easily on that hit,” Jeter joked about scoring on the home run. “It’s better to get a hit than an out because if I didn’t get a hit I’m sure it would’ve started a he-hasn’t-got-a-hit countdown. As long as I’m seeing the ball good, I’m fine.
“The results, right at this particular point, I don’t think are the number one priority.”
Jeter’s third plate appearance of the game was also a first during his time with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as Cochran struck him out swinging. In the AB, Jeter swung and missed at a pair of breaking balls and also fouled one off.
It was the fourth time up that he finally got a chance to test the surgically-repaired ankle while running the bases.
After drawing a five-pitch walk against right-handed veteran Mike MacDougal and seeing all inside pitches, almost getting hit a few times, he got a chance to run the bases for the first time. He moved from first to third on a single to right field and slid into third base, getting up not showing any noticeable limp.
“I’ve done it before. It’s not like the first time I’m doing it but I guess it’s good for people to see when you do it in a game,” the 39-year-old Jeter said. “But I’m not concerned with that. I’ve done a lot of that down in Florida. It’s good to get back into a game, but I don’t have a checklist in my mind.”