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Derek Jeter Will Return to Yankees Lineup for First Time Since Ankle Injury

The captain is back.

After missing nine months due to a fractured left ankle suffered in Game 1 of last year’s ALCS, Derek Jeter will finally be listed in the New York Yankees lineup on Thursday against the Kansas City Royals, according to comments from Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, courtesy of ESPN New York

After the game last night, after Hafner got hurt, we looked at the weather patterns and I just decided to make the move for today. Derek was scheduled to DH in Scranton, so I figured, he could DH and sit around in the rain in Scranton, or he can DH and sit around in the rain in the Bronx. We chose the Bronx.

Cashman said Thursday morning he wasn't sure whether Jeter, who has missed the entire season while recovering from a broken ankle suffered in last season's American League Championship Series, would play against the Kansas City Royals at shortstop or designated hitter. 

"We'll talk about it with Joe (Girardi) and see what we decide to do," he said.

The New York Post's Joel Sherman reports that the veteran will DH and bat second on Thursday. 

However, it may not be long until we see Jeter back in the field at shortstop, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com

It’s been a very long road back to the field for the 18-year veteran.

Jeter underwent surgery to repair his ankle, and in February, he told Jack Curry of the YES Network that he was hoping to play on Opening Day for the Bronx Bombers:

A few weeks later, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reported that Jeter’s ankle was 100 percent healed and that he would soon be playing games again. Jeter was in the spring training lineup as the designated hitter on March 9, and he went 1-for-2.

J. Meric/Getty Images
Everything was going well for Jeter, until he was kept out of the lineup for the second straight game after experiencing discomfort in his surgically repaired ankle, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York. He would play in just five games throughout spring training, going 3-for-11 with a double and one walk.

Jeter continued to rehabilitate his ankle, but things still weren’t the way they should be. He went to a doctor, and a CT scan revealed a small crack in his ankle:

Jeter didn’t have surgery, but he wasn’t allowed to do much for the next several weeks. On June 13, Jeter had been cleared to resume baseball activities:

Jeter took batting practice and ground balls on the field down in Tampa on June 19, according to the Associated Press, via the YES Network. The 39-year-old starting playing minor league games on July 6, and after several appearances, the Yankees are now comfortable bringing him back to the Bronx.

Al Bello/Getty Images
The Yankees have really missed Jeter on offense and defense. During his absence, New York has used the combination of Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, Reid Brignac and even Alberto Gonzalez to fill the void.

None of those four, however, did much of anything during their time at shortstop, and the Bronx Bombers now welcome Jeter back with open arms.

Jeter has played 18 seasons in the big leagues and is a career .313/.382/.448 hitter. He has 225 home runs, 1,254 RBI and 1,868 runs in 2,585 games. The shortstop has an $8 million option for the 2014 season if he’s still healthy and wants to continue playing for the Yankees. 

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