Derek Jeter has been in a jovial mood to start 2013 while wearing a protective boot on his surgically repaired left ankle.
The 38-year-old Yankees captain insists he’s on a path that will allow him to be New York’s shortstop on Opening Day on 1 April.
“I feel good. It was a tough first five, six weeks where you sit on your couch with your feet elevated but now I feel as though I’m moving around pretty good,” Jeter said. “I think I’m right where I need to be.”
Jeter broke his ankle lunging for a grounder in Game One of the AL Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers on 13 October. He had surgery a week later and the Yankees said his recovery time would be four to five months.
One thing Jeter is not doing while resting is paying close attention to the offseason rumours about free agents and potential trades. “I check the name tags when we get into spring training. I know that with A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez) out until possibly early summer with left hip surgery, other guys are going to have to step up.
“You can’t sit around and hang your head. You have to move forward.”
An All-Star for the 13th time in 2012, Jeter had a resurgent season. He led the American League with 216 hits and batted .316 with 15 homers and 58 Runs Batted In. He broke his ankle after first injuring it in mid-September and states he played through the pain.
“It was sore. You don’t really talk about it. You play or you don’t play. I felt as if I can play on it. I played on it for some time. I guess I pushed it a little too much.”