Jeter back where he belongs

It didn’t take Derek Jeter very long to get into the swing of things. It never does for the Captain. Jeter was reinstated from the disabled list Thursday and inserted into the lineup batting second as the designated hitter.

The Yankee Stadium day-game crowd that was filled with Little Leaguers and other youth groups reacted jubilantly when Jeter came out of the Yankees’ dugout and did some sprints in right field before the game.

The cheers grew much louder as Jeter came to the plate in the first inning for his first major-league at-bat of the season and was accorded a standing ovation. Wasting no time, Jeet swung at the first pitch from Royals righthander Ervin Santana and hit a slow roller down the third base line. Kansas City third baseman Miguel Tejada tried to make a bare-handed play but could not control the ball. Jeter running hard all the way as usual had an infield hit.

The Royals took a 3-0 lead off Andy Pettitte in the top of the first. DJ helped get at least one run back. He advanced to third on a single by Robinson Cano and scored on a sacrifice fly by Vernon Wells.

Derek Jeter (USA Weekend Photo)

The sluggishness of the Yankees’ offense of late may have played a part in Jeter’s reinstatement from the DL, plus the fact that Brett Gardner and Travis Hafner are down with bruises sustained Wednesday night.

“It was an obvious situation where, ‘Hey, he could DH today in Scranton or he could DH today in New York,'” general manager Brian Cashman said. “We might as well bring him in and DH him in New York.”

Cashman had spoken Wednesday night with longtime consultant Gene Michael, one of the great superscouts who reported favorably on Jeter’s mobility. Cash then made a call to the Cap.

“All I had to hear from him was, ‘Hey, I’m ready,'” Cashman said. “He said that, and I said, ‘All right, well, head on back.’ He’s not an excitable guy. Everyone knows this is where he needs to be.”

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