TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A day after his 39th birthday, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has taken another stride in his comeback from a broken left ankle by running outdoors for the first time in two months.
Jeter started the running program Thursday at Steinbrenner Field and called it "the last step" before playing in minor league games. The Yankees' captain hopes to run the bases soon.
"Everything is good," Jeter said. "No problems whatsoever. I've done everything else. It's a constant progression."
There is no date yet for Jeter to begin a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment.
"As soon as I can get out there, I'll get out there," Jeter said. "We haven't got that far yet."
Jeter has been taking batting practice and fielding grounders. The 13-time All-Star hasn't played this season after breaking his ankle in the playoffs last October and having surgery. Another fracture was discovered during his first rehab in April.
After the workout, which was moved due to wet grounds, Jeter drove teammate Alex Rodriguez back to the Yankees' minor league complex from Steinbrenner Field. Rodriguez is rehabbing following hip surgery in January.
Jeter said "of course" when asked if Rodriguez will be a productive player when he rejoins the Yankees. Jeter added there is "no way he can be a distraction to us."
The status of A-Rod's rehabilitation, however, became a point of contention this week.
The star third baseman posted Tuesday evening on Twitter that his hip surgeon had cleared him to play in rehab games, a move that angered general manager Brian Cashman because Rodriguez has not been cleared by team doctors yet.
"Why would he be a distraction?" Jeter said. "You guys may be a distraction to him, if you ask him questions. I've never seen how someone could be a distraction to a team because we don't have to deal with it."
Rodriguez continued to take simulated at-bats.
"He looked good," Jeter said. "Alex works extremely hard. He's working hard now to get back."
Rodriguez did not stop to talk with reporters when he left the complex.
The Yankees expect both to return to the active roster after the All-Star break.
NOTES: OF Curtis Granderson (broken knuckle) is doing range of motion exercises but has not started swinging a bat. His car, parked next to Jeter's in the player's lot, was hit by a batting practice home run by a minor leaguer that landed on and went over the clubhouse roof. ... C Francisco Cervelli (broken hand) is hitting in an indoor cage.
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