Report: Derek Jeter to return to New York Yankees lineup on Thursday

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) throws during batting practice before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. (William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports)

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) has to be excited to be returning to his Yankees on Thursday night. (William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports)

The Captain returns. Superstar New York shortstop Derek Jeter will be making his long-awaited 2013 debut in pinstripes during the Yankees’ Thursday night showdown against the Kansas City Royals.

“After the game last night, after Hafner got hurt, we looked at the weather patterns and I just decided to make the move for today. Derek was scheduled to DH in Scranton, so I figured, he could DH and sit around in the rain in Scranton, or he can DH and sit around in the rain in the Bronx. We chose the Bronx,” Yanks general managers Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian O’Connor.

What Cashman is alluding to is Jeter’s rehab assignment with the organization’s Triple-A affiliate in Scranton, Pennsylvania. No doubt the folks in the town made famous by The Office enjoyed having a future Hall of Famer suiting up for the RailRaiders – but as Cashman points out, the arrival of Jeter back to Yankee Stadium could not come soon enough. The Captain has missed the entire season so far after suffering a badly broken ankle in last year’s American League Championship Series.

Manager Joe Girardi and Cashman will decide whether Jeter is actually out on the field at shortstop or playing in the more cautious role of designated hitter. Either way, having a 3,000-hit player in the lineup is huge for a team not exactly used to sitting at fourth place in its own division.

Now 39 years old, Jeter did struggle in the field during his time in the Minors. During Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to Rochester, he bobbled a grounder in the third inning and made an errant throw to first in the fifth.

Afterwards, Jeter shrugged the plays off.

“I feel good,” Jeter said after playing seven innings in the RailRiders’ loss. “There were a lot of different situations that happened, but everything was good.”

Good enough to finally get back to where he belongs.

In the Bronx. In pinstripes.

Derek Jeter portrait is made entirely out of Legos