Derek Jeter to return to field

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will begin his rehab assignment Saturday at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the team announced Friday.

Jeter is scheduled to play at least five innings for the RailRaiders in a game against Lehigh Valley.

"That's really good news," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "That obviously means his ankle feels a lot better. He's been dying to get out there since spring training and he's had some setbacks. But this is a really good sign."

Jeter broke his ankle on Oct. 13 and had surgery. He played five spring training games, but a new break was discovered April 18. He has not played in a regular-season game this year.

General manager Brian Cashman and Girardi both said they would like to see how Jeter rebounds from playing in the field on consecutive days. Neither ruled out the possibility that Jeter could return to the Yankees during the team's current homestand, which concludes July 14. Cashman said Jeter has been running the bases at full speed "for about a week."

Alex Rodriguez, who hasn't played this season, was scheduled to play Friday afternoon for the Yankees' Class A team in Tampa, but the game was rained out.

After the game was called, Rodriguez worked for about a half hour in the batting cages at the facility that also serves as the Tigers' spring training site.

After showering, Rodriguez emerged from the visiting clubhouse and motioned the media over to a tunnel away from sight from a small squadron of autograph seekers who were waiting for him, and dispassionately answered questions about his health and rehabilitation.

Then he was asked: "Are you confident that you can be an elite player once you get back to the Bronx?"

"I do -- yes," he said. And then, as he abruptly turned and walked away from where the waiting autograph seekers were, he said, "Thanks guys. Have a good day."

With Rodriguez and Jeter in the early stages of their rehab programs, neither Cashman nor Girardi wanted to place a definitive timetable on either player's return.

"I know both are anxious to get back," Girardi said. "We'll just go day by day."

Also, right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, who missed his previous scheduled start due to pain in his left hip, threw a full bullpen session Friday without incident.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com contributors Ian Begley and Peter Kerasotis was used in this report.