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Yankees limit Jeter to minors

TAMPA — Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Thursday that SS Derek Jeter will play only in minor-league exhibitions the rest of the spring.

The move could cut short how much time Jeter would miss if he starts the season on the 15-day disabled list. By not playing in major-league exhibitions, the Yankees want to be able to adjust Jeter's start time on the DL, if that's necessary.

"I think we need the ability to preserve to back-date him in the event that he's not going make it," Cashman said.

Jeter missed his third straight game Thursday because of inflammation in his surgically repaired left ankle. He expects to resume baseball work today.

"I wouldn't call it a setback," Jeter said. "We're not talking about my ankle right now. We're talking about normal soreness that comes after you have surgery."

Cashman hasn't ruled out Jeter, 38, missing the regular-season opener against Boston.

Short hops: Robinson Cano, rejoining the Yankees from the World Baseball Classic, got New York's only hit Thursday in a 6-1 loss to the Twins. Closer Mariano Rivera, returning from last season's knee injury, struck out three in his inning.

Jays: Bautista's pop

PORT CHARLOTTE — With every ball that Jose Bautista launches far over the wall, the Blue Jays are more certain he's back to form.

Bautista hit his fifth homer of the spring, a solo shot, as Toronto beat the Rays 3-1.

Bautista had season-ending surgery on his left wrist Sept. 4. He finished with 27 homers and 65 RBIs while batting .241.

His drive to deep left-center was another reassuring sign for the team.

"He's healthy. We've felt good about him the last three weeks," manager John Gibbons said. "He's gotten past that and shown no signs of anything being wrong."

Eugenio Velez also homered for Toronto.

Phils: Halladay watch

CLEARWATER — RHP Roy Halladay, who lasted one inning Sunday and lost nearly 10 pounds in a couple of days because of a stomach virus, is expected to make two more outings and be ready for his regular-season turn April 3.

He threw a bullpen session Wednesday, will pitch in a minor-league game Saturday, then against the Blue Jays next Thursday. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said he believes Halladay will be ready to go in 13 days against the Braves.

"Sure," Dubee told mlb.com, when asked if two starts are enough for Halladay. "What's the risk? He threw 25 pitches last time out. Our other guys, their last game, they're only going to throw 50 probably."

Tuning up: Phillies opening day starter Cole Hamels gave up one run and four hits, stuck out five and walked two, but the Phillies lost 6-1 to a lineup of mostly Red Sox regulars. "Now that we're kind of playing more of the big-time guys, guys' swings are obviously a lot better," Hamels said.

.Fast facts

Blue Jays

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin Tickets: (727) 733-0429, bluejays.com

Today: vs. Red Sox, 1:05

Phillies

Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater Tickets: (727) 467-4457, phillies.com

Tonight: vs. Braves, 1:05

Yankees

Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive (corner Martin Luther King and Dale Mabry), Tampa

Tickets: (813) 879-2244, yankees.com

Tonight: at Twins, Fort Myers, 1:05

Yankees limit Jeter to minors 03/21/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 22, 2013 12:53am]

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