Jeter, who signed a one-year deal worth $12 million on November 1, underwent the knife in October 2012 to fix his fractured left ankle.
Although expected to recover in four to five months, Jeter never fully healed from the procedure and played in only 17 games last season.
“I don’t think about (my left ankle), and that’s a good thing,” said Jeter, 39, who, rather than testing free agency, accepted a $2.5 million pay raise to stay in the Bronx.
Missing Hannah Davis’ banging partner, New York finished 85-77 and failed to qualify for the playoffs for only the second time in the wild-card era.
Leading MLB with 216 hits in 2012, Jeter’s presence at the plate and in the clubhouse would have dramatically bettered the Bombers.
With only CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda entrenched as reliable hurlers, the Yankees must score ample runs to compete.
Thankfully, a 13-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner, Jeter’s destined to rebound in 2014.
A healthy Jeter will work with new acquisitions Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran to immediately bolster New York’s lineup.
Still, although improved overall, the Yankees remain a flawed squad that is far removed from capturing their 28th World Series championship.
Dismissing any title aspirations, Derek Jeter is finally back and “that’s a good thing” for the sport of baseball.by