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Jeter to only play exhibition games in minors

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says shortstop Derek Jeter will play only in minor league spring training games for the rest of spring training.

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The move could cut short how much time Jeter would miss if he starts the season on the 15-day disabled list. By not playing in major league exhibitions, the Yankees want to be able to adjust Jeter's start time on the DL if that's necessary.

``I think we need the ability to preserve to back date him in the event that's he not going make it,'' Cashman said.

Jeter missed his third straight exhibition game Thursday because of inflammation in his surgically repaired left ankle. He expects to resume baseball activities on Friday.

``I wouldn't call it a setback,'' Jeter said. ``We're not talking about my ankle right now. We're talking about normal soreness that comes after you have surgery. So, I'm not concerned at all about my ankle.''

Jeter said he hasn't talked with Cashman yet about switching to minor league games as spring training winds down.

The 38-year-old captain received an anti-inflammatory injection on Wednesday.

``The soreness is better,'' Jeter said. ``It's been there, all around the place. The soreness moves around. So that's nothing new. I couldn't play on it two days ago. It was worse.''

Cashman hasn't ruled out Jeter missing the Yankees' regular season opener April 1 at home against Boston. New York manager Joe Girardi feels it's too early to know what Jeter's status for the opener will be.

``I don't know how he's going to respond to the medicine he just took, and how that ankle is going to feel,'' Girardi said. ``I think what he's going through is normal, normal soreness. Stuff that you go through when you comeback from something like this. Eventually it turns the corner, but I can't tell you exactly when that will be.''

Jeter continues to target April 1 as his goal.

``Nothing has changed from my point of view,'' Jeter said.

Cashman said that third baseman Alex Rodriguez, recovering from hip surgery and is expected to be sidelined until at least the All-Star break, is getting physical therapy in New York.

Girardi exchanges text messages weekly with A-Rod, who is doing exercises in a pool.

``He's good,'' Girardi said. ``He's doing more and more every week.''

Girardi hopes to see Rodriguez at Yankee Stadium when the team returns to New York.

Cashman said there is no date yet for when Rodriguez will report to the Yankees' complex in Florida to start on-field drills.

Right-hander Phil Hughes, diagnosed with a bulging disk in his upper back early in spring training, is scheduled to pitch for the first time Friday in a minor league game.

The Yankees have not ruled out Hughes missing his first turn in rotation this season.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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