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Derek Jeter back to practice

TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter took part in batting and fielding drills Friday for the first time since he was scratched from a preseason game with stiffness and soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle Tuesday.

Jeter seemed to come through the relatively brief workout OK and obviously enjoyed himself immensely on the field, kibitzing with teammates and even imitating the unorthodox batting stance of Kevin Youkilis, which he called "unique."

But he did not seem completely onboard with the Yankees' plan to exile him to minor league games for the remainder of spring training in order to preserve their ability to place him on the disabled list retroactive to March 22, limiting the number of games he would miss at the start of the regular season.

"I understand the plan, but I also understand plans change sometimes," Jeter said. "Let's see what happens. I'm here today. Let's see what happens tomorrow. When I'm ready to play, I'll play."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he expected Jeter to be resistant to the decision.

"He likes to fight for everything and anything, which I understand," Cashman said.

Manager Joe Girardi was in Fort Myers with a squad that made the 2½-hour drive south for Friday afternoon's game against the Twins and was not immediately available to outline the next step for Jeter.

When asked if he could play in a minor league game as soon as Saturday, Jeter said, "Of course. Why not? My goal is to get back and play as soon as I can."

Cashman said that decision would be made Saturday.

"Tomorrow, at least the early plan is, he'll be over here to stretch ... and we'll see how he feels from everything he's done today," Cashman said. "It's even possible we'll get him some game activity as early as tomorrow, but we won't make that decision until tomorrow. We'll have a conversation about how he's feeling, and then we'll come up with tomorrow's program after that. It could be just another workout on the field. If he's sore, you back off. If he feels great, maybe you put him in some game activity."

Jeter took five rounds of batting practice on the main field at George Steinbrenner Field and fielded grounders for about a half-hour. He seemed to move without difficulty to both sides and grunted, loudly and comically, on each throw to first.

But he acknowledged again that he could not be sure that the stiffness, which flared up Tuesday and required a cortisone shot Wednesday, would not reappear.

"Everything's good," Jeter said. "It felt better than it did on Tuesday, but I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I really didn't do too much today. I didn't run the bases or play a simulated game or anything like that. The soreness is going to be there. It's going to be there for a while, so you just deal with it. Some days are going to be better than others, but eventually it goes away, so you just get through it as best you can."