TAMPA, Fla. -- It has been an all-too-familiar sight in the most recent Yankees springs: Derek Jeter running at less than his top speed down the first-base line, appearing to favor his left ankle.
It happened again on Friday, but everyone can exhale. The Yankees captain fouled a pair of balls off his ankle early in New York's 4-0 Grapefruit League victory over the Pirates, but Jeter said that the soreness is nothing out of the ordinary.
"It's a foul ball," Jeter said. "I wish I could give you more. I don't know what it's going to feel like [Saturday], but it's really not a big deal."
Jeter said that he iced the ankle after the game, but more telling was that he stayed in to finish playing seven innings of defense after the fouls; one off the ankle, and one off the top of the foot.
Of course, Jeter said, one of the fouls had to miss his shin guard.
"I always do," Jeter said. "I don't think I've hit it yet in 20 years, man."
Jeter was not scheduled to be on Saturday's travel roster to play the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla., and manager Joe Girardi expects Jeter to be ready to play on Sunday against the Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"You're always a little bit worried, but he got through the game. He's OK," Girardi said. "I don't expect it to be a problem. We'll see how he is [Saturday] because sometimes adrenaline carries you through, but I'm not playing him [Saturday] anyway. I expect it will be no problem Sunday."
Jeter has enjoyed a spring mostly free of health issues, but he is waiting for his timing to come around. Jeter was 0-for-3 with an RBI groundout on Friday, dropping his spring average to .122 (5-for-41) with a double and two RBIs.
"I feel all right," Jeter said. "The thing here is, in Spring Training, the thing is you want to have good at-bats and you want to hit the ball hard. I did a couple of times today. If it was the regular season, then I'd rather have two broken-bat hits.
"At this point in the spring, you just want to hit the ball hard. I think I'm progressing how I should be. We have what, another week here? You just want to continue that."
Jeter acknowledged that, after being limited to 17 games last season, it has taken longer than expected to fine-tune himself at the plate.
"Probably, but then again, I haven't played in a while," Jeter said. "The key is to be feeling pretty good toward the end of spring. I'm progressing that way. I like the steps I've made the last few days."