The Yankees’ all-time hits leader grounded out in the second and again in the fifth, when second baseman Johnny Giavotella made a diving stop to prevent an RBI single. That’s when the quad tightened.
Jeter hit a sharp grounder to shortstop with the infield in during the sixth. Alcides Escobar bobbled the ball as Luis Cruz scored from third, and Jeter was thrown out as he jogged up the first-base line.
“He looked the same,” Santana said. “Very aggressive.”
Jeter had not been introduced at Yankee Stadium by Bob Sheppard’s recording in 271 days, since he sprawled onto his stomach while trying to field Jhonny Peralta’s 12th-inning grounder up the middle, immobile on the infield dirt and yelled out in pain.
“It’s awesome to have him back out there. He’s so positive,” Pettitte said. “We need his leadership ability.”
Jeter went 1 for 9 in his tuneup at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. After initially saying Jeter could play shortstop in Friday’s series opener against Minnesota, Girardi said he likely would DH again if healthy.
“I think it’s easy to say that you would expect with his age and a double break that I think he’d lose a step or two or half a step, but I think he’s moving extremely well from what I’m told,” general manager Brian Cashman said.
Girardi’s task will be preventing Jeter from playing too much.
“I think Derek would run himself out there the next 70 games if it was up to him,” Girardi said. “We have to pick days off, and we have to pick DH days.”
Kansas City took a 3-0 lead in the first when Salvador Perez hit a two-run double and Lorenzo Cain had a sacrifice fly. The Royals’ only other run was unearned, set up by Pettitte’s throwing error on a second-inning bunt.