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MLB New York Yankees

New York Yankees Finally Get Their Captain Back

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The captain is finally back.

As was reported early Thursday morning by Ken Rosenthal, Derek Jeter will make his much-anticipated season debut for the New York Yankees in their Thursday game against the Kansas City Royals. And with the team falling into fourth place in the AL East, Jeter’s return couldn’t have come a moment sooner.

It was in last season’s ALCS that the 39-year-old Jeter first fractured his ankle. He had surgery immediately following the break and was expected to be ready for the season opener. However, Jeter’s rehab suffered quite a few setbacks and was slow-going. As it became clear Jeter wouldn’t be ready for opening day, he was dealt another blow while rehabbing in May in the form of a second minor fracture.

It took until July for Jeter to finally start his minor league rehab. He played in four games with the Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees, going 1-for-9 with four walks and three strikeouts.

The Yankees are hoping that with time, Jeter will be able to perform at the level he did last season before his injury. He hit .316/.362/.429 in 159 games with 32 doubles, 15 HRs, 58 RBIs and 99 runs and was a huge asset to the roster as he has always been.

If Jeter can come back and play at close to the level he did last season, it will be a huge boost for the Yankees. The team has fielded five different shortstops on the year who are hitting a collective .210/.269/.283. So even if Jeter is not the same hitter, his production should be better than any New York has had at the position this year.

While getting Jeter back is only one piece of the puzzle, it is a good start for New York and one that could help them from losing any further ground in the division.

Marilee Gallagher is a Philadelphia Phillies writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google+