Yankee fans may be etching extra worry lines on their faces by fretting over the advancing age of their favorite players. But Derek Jeter prefers to view the club another way:

"Experienced, right?" Jeter said Monday, smiling as he prepared to drive off after a workout at the Yanks' minor-league complex. The talk of how Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and multiple other Yankees are over the hill doesn't bug the team captain, regardless of the agita it gives some armchair general managers.

"No, I've heard it before," the 38-year-old Jeter said. "It just depends on where you're angling a story. If you want to make it a positive, you say how experienced we are and if someone wants to make it sound another way, it's, 'Oh, we're old.' I'd like to think we're experienced.

"It's our job, regardless of how old anyone is, to come here and be ready to play and help us compete. We've been able to do that pretty successfully throughout the years and our plans don't change."

Jeter is doing his part, entering his second week of on-field workouts as he rehabs from the surgery to repair his broken left ankle. He reiterated that he'll be ready for Opening Day against the Red Sox, though he admitted he likely won't play in the Yanks' first spring training game on Feb. 23 and won't start running until the full squad reports Feb. 17. He's certain that he'll be back to being the same old Jeter, though.

Monday, on a sun-dappled morning, he hit in the batting cage and took 55 ground balls on the grass at shortstop. All the grounders were hit directly at him and he did not move side to side. As he progresses, he'll move back onto the infield dirt and eventually move laterally, but Jeter called his work Monday the same sort of drills he'd be doing even if he weren't returning from an injury.

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