Jeter has only played in five games between his three stints on the DL this season, batting .211 with a home run and two RBIs. He returned from a broken left ankle on July 11, and went back on the DL with a quad strain after that game. He was activated again on July 28, only to be put back on the DL four games later with a calf strain.
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who made his season debut on Aug. 3 -- 23 days after Jeter's -- played his sixth game of the season on Monday.
"We weren't sure who we were going to get back first when it came to those two," Girardi said. "Initially, we thought we were going to get Derek back after Spring Training, and that didn't work. I'm not really sure I find it hard to believe that Alex has played more games than Derek or vice versa. But Derek came back first. It's just been a strange year."
Designated hitter Travis Hafner, who was placed on the disabled list on July 27 with a right rotator cuff strain, is even further from a return than Jeter.
"He feels better. He's continuing his rehab," Girardi said. "He's not ready to do baseball activities yet, though."
Josh Vitale and Chris Iseman are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.