ST. PETERSBURG -- Derek Jeter returned to the Yankees' lineup on Monday, good news for those he'd spent six games pestering in the clubhouse, the trainer's room and on the bench.
Sidelined with a strained left quadriceps, Jeter made little secret of the fact that he wanted back into New York's batting order as soon as possible. Yankees manager Joe Girardi gave the green light on Monday, inserting Jeter batting second and at shortstop against the Rays.
"I'm excited to have him back," Girardi said. "It breaks up all the lefties at the top of your lineup, and it's also nice to have one of your leaders back."
Jeter ran sprints on Sunday at Fenway Park and said he was at about 80 percent. He left the Yankees' victory one week ago at Yankee Stadium in the third inning and had spent most of his time receiving treatment.
"Of course I'm happy to be playing again," Jeter said. "I hope everything's all right, but I don't see any reason why it's not."
Jeter said that he might have some hesitation trusting his quadriceps completely on the bases, more so than in the field.
"I think it's normal that any time you're hurt and come back playing, you take it easy a little bit," Jeter said. "I'm not saying you jog, but I'm sure you're going to take your time even if you feel like you're 100 percent. Mentally, you've got to be a little cautious."
With Jeter back in the lineup, Girardi used Monday to rest second baseman Robinson Cano, who was 0-for-5 in Sunday's loss and has just two hits in his last 18 at-bats. On the road trip, Cano is just 4-for-26, and Girardi said that he would let Cano clear his head as soon as Jeter was ready.
Rookie Alberto Gonzalez was given the nod at second base. Gonzalez made his fifth consecutive start at shortstop on Sunday and is 5-for-13 since being recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Gonzalez was to be optioned back to the Minors when Jeter was back in the lineup but may stay longer now that infielder Wilson Betemit has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with conjunctivitis.
"I have a lot of faith in this young man," Girardi said. "He's played extremely well."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.