"I've always felt as though if I'm healthy and go out and play every day, it's something I'd have a chance to do, because I've pretty much been hitting at the top of the order," Jeter said. "It's a lot of hits. I'm proud of it, but more importantly, we're just trying to win games. I try to be consistent, and if you're consistent throughout the course of a year, you have a chance to do it."
Jeter, who recently passed Willie Mays for 10th place on the all-time hits list, was given the afternoon off by manager Joe Girardi and took part in fielding drills after New York's 4-2 matinee victory, preparing to start the nightcap at short if all went well.
Entering Wednesday's first game, Jeter had played the past four games at designated hitter while Eduardo Nunez filled in at shortstop. Nunez again started at short and batted ninth for Wednesday's matinee, going 0-for-3.
But Jeter was back in the field for the nightcap, although he made a throwing error.
"I was nervous, and I was kind of out of sync out there," Jeter said. "I don't think I've gone six or seven days in the middle of a season without playing, so it was a little weird out there. But physically, I'm fine."
Jeter told Girardi that his ankle felt significantly better upon arriving at the ballpark on Tuesday before inclement weather pushed the series opener back a day, and the manager was hopeful that another 24 hours would make Jeter fit to play the field. But the decision to give Jeter the afternoon off and start the nightcap was more a product of pitching matchups.
Girardi preferred to bat the right-handed-hitting Jeter against Romero in the night game rather than against right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who struck out a career-high seven batters in Game 1 of the twin bill. Jeter entered the nightcap 7-for-33 (.212) in his career against Romero and hitless in eight at-bats against Alvarez.
Jeter went 1-for-4 with a walk, with his hit making him the first Major Leaguer to record 200 this season.
"It's incredible," Girardi said. "You think about a guy who's 38 years old, and you're not sure they're going to get the at-bats to get 200 hits. He still has 14 games left. It just shows you how great of a player he is and how great of a year he's had for us."