Derek Jeter had a miserable offseason he would rather forget.
Not only did the captain of the New York Yankees not win another World Series ring, but his season ended in the playoffs when he had to be helped off the field after he broke an ankle.
“Absolutely terrible,” Jeter said in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, the spring training reporting day for New York’s position players. “Mentally it was rough, too, but more physical. I was stuck on the couch for a good five, six weeks where I couldn’t really move around too much. I had a little scooter to move around. It was not fun.”
The 38-year-old broke his left ankle lunging for a grounder in the American League Championship Series opener against Detroit on Oct. 1, and had surgery a week later. He could start running on a field in the next couple of days and expects to be ready for opening day against Boston on April 1.
“Why wouldn’t it be realistic?” Jeter said. “I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Opening day, yeah, it’s been a goal all along.”
Jeter had a resurgent season, leading the American League with 216 hits and batting .316 with 15 homers and 58 RBI. He first injured his ankle in mid-September and then fouled balls off his foot several times after that.
“I hurt it, I continued to play on it probably when I shouldn’t have,” Jeter said. “Initially (it was) a bone bruise that progressed from there. Eventually, it turned into a stress fracture and broke. I was told I was able to play, so I played. Unfortunately it broke, but I’d do the same thing over again if I had to.”
He remembered trying to glove Jhonny Peralta’s 12th-inning grounder up the middle as the Yankees tried to keep the score tied after they rallied for four runs in the ninth.
“I wasn’t making any awkward movements,” Jeter said. “It was just a couple steps to my left, but it already developed into a stress fracture.”
The 13-time All-Star thinks he will play an exhibition game in a few weeks. Manager Joe Girardi said Jeter will likely be DH.
Nick Swisher returned to spring training camp with the Indians on Sunday after leaving the team to attend his mother’s funeral in Ohio. His mother, Lillian Marie Malizia, died in Columbus, Ohio, following a second battle with leukemia. She was 63. … Cubs right-hander Matt Garza suffered a mild back strain on his left side while throwing batting practice and is expected to miss at least a few days of practice. … Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said the team is making progress with Chicago city officials on Wrigley Field renovation plans. However, efforts to schedule more night games are on hold.