(Courtesy of J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday)
After watching player after player go down with injuries this spring, the Yankees finally got to see a few come back from injuries yesterday when Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter played in their first ST games. Mo struck out two in a scoreless 5th inning and Jeter went 1-2 at the plate as the leadoff DH, and both used their performances to answer the question about whether they'll be ready in time for the start of the season. For Mo, that question wasn't as big a deal. He's been throwing bullpen sessions, going through everything he would in a normal spring, just not in an actual game setting. For Jeter, the question has hung over him all spring as he's been limited to light fielding drills, light running drills, and batting cage sessions. He still has to play a few games in the field, which sounds like it might happen this coming week, but if Jeter can at least hit three weeks before the start of the season, that's a pretty good sign that he'll be ready.
So now that Jeter has answered the first big question, we can move to asking the second one. What kind of production can we reasonably expect from The Captain this year? The offense has already taken a lot of damage in the past four months and change, and a 39-year-old shorstop coming off major ankle surgery isn't going to be the savior, but without any reliable backup options in sight the Yankees need something good from Jeter this year.