SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Derek Jeter returned to the Yankees as a designated hitter Thursday in his first major league game since breaking his ankle in a playoff game last October.

“I love Derek Jeter,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “I think he’s one of the all time greats in any sport.”

Jeter was 1-for-4, scoring one run and batting in another in the Yankees victory over the Royals. But the 39-year-old shortstop was pulled for a pinch hitter in the 8th inning due to a tight right quadriceps.

“You can just see him running and so on that it’s not the same old Derek Jeter. But you don’t expect him to be either. Can he (still) play and can he move and do all those things that a shortstop has to do? I don’t know. I would like to see him go out the way he wants to go out, but I’m not sure that he’s going to.”

Jeter reportedly told the team he was ready to return after just four rehab games in the minors.

“They probably will rest him over the weekend and through the All Star game and then I would imagine try it again after the All Star Game.”

Thursday’s injury didn’t appear to be related to his ankle.

“(But) the ankle is connected to the whole lower body,” John said. “You favor an ankle and you get a quad. You favor an ankle and you get a calf, you get a hamstring, you get whatever. On a professional athlete everything has to work as perfectly as possible… When you take strength off one you put it on another.” (7:45)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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