Yankees' Jeter returns to practice

The Sports Xchange/Reuters

Posted at Feb 04 2014 06:39 PM | Updated as of Feb 05 2014 02:39 AM

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter took on-field batting practice Monday for the first time since he was shut down last year because of injuries.

Jeter, 39, hit well to all fields during a five-round, 39-swing session at the Yankees' minor league facility in Tampa, Fla., according to the Associated Press. He also took grounders at shortstop for the first time this year, fielding 34 balls.

"Everything is good so far, knock on wood," Jeter said.

Jeter was previously hitting in an indoor batting cage and fielded grounders on infield grass the last two weeks.

The Yankees' captain played just 17 games last year after breaking his left ankle in the 2012 American League Championship Series. He batted just .190 in only 63 at-bats with eight runs, one double, one home run and seven RBIs.

"My job is to be ready to play," Jeter said. "I remember when I was 35, everyone said that was it. He can't play anymore. End of my career. So, it's really nothing different. Eventually, somebody is going to be right, you know what I mean? You're going to run out of numbers."

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 15. Jeter said he will stay at the team's minor league facility until Feb. 20.

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The Arizona Diamondbacks extended the contracts of manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers, who were both entering the final year of their contracts in 2014, the team announced.

Gibson, who took over for A.J. Hinch on July 1, 2010, and Towers, who was hired in September that year, both had contract options declined by the organization following the 2013 season.

They both had just a year left on the deals they signed following the 2011 National League West championship season.

Gibson has a 290-279 record with the D-backs.

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Starting right-handed pitcher Jerome Williams agreed to a one-year contract with the Houston Astros, MLBDailyDish.com reported.

The contract, pending a physical, has performance bonuses. Williams is scheduled to take a physical on Wednesday.

Williams, 32 was 9-10 with a 4.57 ERA in 37 games (25 starts) over a career-high 169 1/3 innings for the Los Angeles Angels in 2013.

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Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson will miss the first six to eight weeks of this season after having arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Hellickson, a right-hander who settled his arbitration case for $3.67 million on Jan. 17, had the procedure last week. Hellickson went 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA last year.

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The Colorado Rockies signed right-handed relievers Manny Corpas and Nick Masset to minor-league contracts.

Corpas, 31, went 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 16 walks with the Rockies last season.

Masset, 31, missed the last two seasons after having right shoulder surgery. He is 16-14 with a 3.78 ERA in 308 major-league appearances with the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds from 2006-11.

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Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister avoided salary arbitration by finalizing a one-year, $7.2 million contract.

Fister, who was acquired from the Detroit Tigers in a December trade, was seeking $8.5 million while the Nationals countered with $5.5 million. Fister went 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA in 32 starts for Detroit last year.

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The Baltimore Orioles finalized a minor-league contract with infielder Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez, 37, is expected to compete for a spot on the Orioles' bench. He was released by the Milwaukee Brewers after hitting just .177 last season. (Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)