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Anticipation mounts as Jeter nears return

Anticipation mounts as Jeter nears return

Anticipation mounts as Jeter nears return

NEW YORK -- As it has all season, Derek Jeter's Yankee Stadium locker sits ready for his arrival, outfitted with all of the amenities the captain will need when he is eventually activated to the roster.

That day is not here, but it seems to be quickly approaching. With Jeter again in the lineup and playing shortstop for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, there is a sense that the shortstop could be putting his pinstripes on by the weekend.

CC Sabathia, for one, believes that getting Jeter back -- along with other injured Bombers like Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Francisco Cervelli -- can only help the current state of affairs.

"You hope so," Sabathia said. "Just having them in the lineup will hopefully change everything."

Not wanting to commit to an exact timetable, manager Joe Girardi has continued to downplay expectations placed on the 39-year-old Jeter, who has not played this season due to a pair of fractures in his surgically repaired left ankle.

"I'm sure the fans are going to be extremely excited he's back, when he comes back, and so will we," Girardi said. "We understand that he's one guy. He can only do what he's capable of doing."

Jeter entered Wednesday's game against Rochester 1-for-6 with two runs scored and four walks in three games, starting twice at shortstop and once as a designated hitter.

"It's hard for me to really evaluate him because I'm not seeing him," Girardi said. "You have to trust the people that are seeing him, the people that are watching him. That's how you make the decision.

"Derek would have had himself here last week. That's the bottom line. You have to trust the people that are watching him."

Girardi said that, in the event the Yankees activated Jeter before the All-Star break, he would take those days off. Girardi said he did not believe that a small amount of rest would be counterproductive, and he's looking for Jeter to play seven or eight innings at shortstop in back-to-back games.

"Seven or eight is fine with me," Girardi said. "That's what our guys do in Spring Training."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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