The Associated Press reporter counted "108 grounders" taken on the infield grass near shortstop by Derek Jeter on Monday in his first workout of 2014. One-hundred and eight. Not 107. Not 109 — because Jeter knew that would have been pushing it. After an offseason replete with Alex Rodriguez suspension hearing stories, it's obvious that no one can wait any longer for spring training to start.
Regardless, getting Jeter on the field at the New York Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa nearly a full month before position players are required is good news for Gotham. He also hit off a tee in the batting cage, but no word on the trajectory of his swings. Jeter missed most of the 2013 season because of various injuries, most of which were related to the broken left ankle he suffered during the 2012 playoffs.
''I don't think about it, and that's a good thing,'' Jeter said.
Jeter broke his left ankle Oct. 13, 2012 during the AL championship series opener against Detroit. He was limited to five games and 11 at-bats during spring training last year, stayed behind in Florida when the team broke camp for rehabilitation and broke the ankle again in April during rehabilitation.
''It's good to have a normal offseason and get some work in,'' Jeter said. ''Everything is normal now.''
Yankees. "Normal." Ha! As if. Jeter's healthy, so good for him — and it's one less thing for the Yankees to worry about — but he also turns 40 in June. Will he be able to cover the bare minimum of ground on defense at shortstop? He'll also have to get used to not having Robinson Cano at second base. There's still a lot of work to be done, and decisions to be made, even if Jeter's ankle is 100 percent.
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