- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Yankees manager Joe Girardi won’t rush Derek Jeter back from a strained right calf, even though he’s eligible to come off the disabled list next week.

Girardi also doesn’t plan to take slugging third baseman Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup unless he asks for a day off to rest his ailing right knee, and provided no timetable for Phil Hughes‘ return to the starting rotation.

Jeter took 27 swings off the tee and 30 swings of soft toss on Saturday at the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa, Fla. He also played catch for the fifth straight day but didn’t do any running, which represents the next big hurdle in his rehab.

The Yankees’ captain said it felt good to finally swing a bat, but even he has acknowledged that he’s not sure whether he’ll be back with the Yankees when he’s eligible June 29.

“We just have to make sure his legs are under him and he can make those sharp cuts he needs to make and he can get out of the box fine,” Girardi said before Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. “We have to make sure he’s ready, that we don’t push this.”

Jeter is six hits shy of 3,000, a chase that’s been on hold since getting hurt June 13.

“You come back too early and re-injure it, you’re talking about a month,” Girardi said. “So we have to make sure when it’s time to go, it’s time to go.”

A-Rod said he’s been seeing trainers since Sunday’s game at Wrigley Field, when he tweaked his right knee. The pain hasn’t been bad enough that he’s begged out of the lineup, though he left late in Saturday’s 8-3 win over the Colorado Rockies to give it some rest.

“There are some injuries you can play through and some you can’t, and this is one I can play through,” said Rodriguez, who went 2 for 3 and drove in three runs. “I think I’m getting better and I’m good enough to play.”

Girardi said that Rodriguez has been “fighting through it,” and won’t necessarily sit him down unless the third baseman asks for a day off.

Hughes, on the disabled list since April 15 with right shoulder inflammation, made his second rehab start with Double-A Trenton on Friday night. He allow a run on three hits and two walks in 3 1-3 innings against New Britain.

Girardi said that Hughes wasn’t as sharp as last Sunday, when he went 4 1-3 innings for Class-A Staten Island, and isn’t sure when or where his next rehab appearance will happen.

“He threw a lot of pitches in 3 1-3 innings. He was not hit hard, he just wasn’t as sharp,” Girardi said. “When we think he’s ready, that’s when we’ll call him back.”

Right-hander Bartolo Colon, out with a strained right hamstring, felt good after his first bullpen session Friday. He’s scheduled to pitch in a simulated game on Monday in Tampa.

Converted reliever Mark Prior, on the DL at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre because of a strained groin, also was scheduled to throw off a mound Saturday.

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