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Derek Jeter HRs on 1st pitch in return to Yankees
“It was fun _ I’m tired,” Jeter said. “I worked hard to try to get back on the field.”
The 13-time All-Star played shortstop for the first time this season and went 2 for 4 with an intentional walk and two runs scored. He was on base for Alfonso Soriano’s two-run drive in the third and for his game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.
“A lot of great memories here with Sori,” he said of his teammate from 1999 to 2003, “and it was almost like old times.”
To make room for Jeter, the Yankees placed designated hitter Travis Hafner on the disabled list with a right rotator cuff strain. Hafner has slumped to a .205 average. He hit the last of his 12 homers on June 25, a span of 67 at-bats.
Jeter had his much-anticipated return July 11 _ as the designated hitter _ after missing the Yankees‘ first 91 games because of a twice broken ankle. He was first injured during the opener of the AL championship series in October.
But he sustained a Grade 1 strain of his right quadriceps running out a groundball against Kansas City and went right back on the DL.
Fourth in the AL East, the Yankees went 4-8 during his second absence and are 55-50. New York has scored fewer runs than all but three teams in the American League this season.
“Hopefully I can help in any way, but we need contributions from a lot of people,” Jeter said beforehand. “It’s not like I’m some savior coming in here all of a sudden we’re just going to start winning.”
“It changes our lineup. There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “And just his presence is important to this club. It’s been important for such a long time.”
And despite having difficulty embracing the concept before the game, Jeter appeared to hold back a bit running out to grounders.
Jeter still wasn’t endorsing the style of play afterward.
“I don’t want to learn how to do it. I understand I have to do it, especially the first week or two,” he said. “I feel awful doing it. I don’t like doing it. I hope nobody watches me do it.”
“I don’t know, it wasn’t my idea. They needed to see some things,” Jeter said. “Evidently they saw what they needed to see.”
NOTES: RHP David Phelps (forearm strain) said he will make his second rehab start Tuesday, for Double-A Trenton. … Injured INF 3B Jayson Nix (strained right hamstring) should be activated when the Yankees visit the Dodgers on Tuesday.
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