Billed as the main attraction, Derek Jeter played a bit part in the day’s drama of an 8-4 Yankees victory over Kansas City. He notched an infield single on his first at-bat. He drove in a run in the sixth. But he did not hit a ball out of the infield, and looked ungainly at times on the bases. He was removed for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning after his quadriceps tightened, going 1-for-4 on the day as the designated hitter.

His condition was not surprising. Jeter arrived here ahead of schedule, his presence necessitated by injuries to designated hitter Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner. General manager Brian Cashman said before the game that Jeter would “finish his rehab in the big leagues.”

It was here, more than nine months ago, that Jeter suffered the initial fracture in his left ankle. A second fracture occurred during spring training. The Yankee Stadium crowd showered him with repeated standings ovations during the afternoon.

In the early going, starter Andy Pettitte held the crowd’s attention. Even before Jeter stepped to the plate, his team trailed by three. Alex Gordon roped a leadoff single. Alcides Escobar dropped a bunt single of his own. A walk of Billy Butler loaded the bases.

Facing Salvador Perez, Kansas City’s All-Star catcher, Pettitte allowed a backdoor slider to catch too much plate. Perez dumped a two-run double into the left-field corner. A sacrifice fly from Lorenzo Cain added to the deficit.

Jeter helped lighten the load in his first at-bat. He hacked at the first pitch he saw. He topped Ervin Santana’s 95-mph fastball into the grass, where the ball rolled toward third baseman Miguel Tejada. Tejada couldn’t make a clean grab, and Jeter had a single.

Running on a full-count pitch to Robinson Cano, Jeter made his way to third on a single. He scored on a sacrifice fly off Vernon Wells’ bat. Back on the mound, Pettitte was still scuffling. The Royals tacked on a second-inning run after Pettitte made an errant throw on a bunt single. David Lough later came home on an Escobar single.