Derek Jeter took another small step forward yesterday and could be moving closer to resuming significant baseball activities this week.

The Yankees captain fielded grounders directly hit at him at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa and is slated to visit Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte on Thursday to have his left ankle re-examined. If Anderson, who operated on Jeter after he fractured the ankle against the Tigers in the ALCS last October, says a second fracture that didn’t require surgery has healed, Jeter will begin more strenuous workouts.

Jeter would not immediately jump into full baseball activities but would likely start with fielding ground balls, hitting off a tee and then advancing to batting practice.

Last week Jeter, who will turn 39 this month, surfaced at Yankee Stadium but was limited to playing catch while his teammates took batting practice.

In Seattle, Joe Girardi said that Alex Rodriguez was ahead of Jeter because “Derek hasn’t done any baseball activities.’’

If Anderson says the ankle has healed, that will change.

* Jeter’s replacement Eduardo Nunez, who is out with a strained muscle on his left side, fielded grounders in the outfield and Curtis Granderson, who is rehabbing a broken hand, ran in the outfield and threw, but did not catch.

* Yankees director of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer is confident lefty pitcher Ian Clarkin, one of the Yankees first-round draft picks, will sign with the club instead of pitching for the University of San Diego.

“We feel very strongly that we will get it done,’’ Oppenheimer said. “We need to clean up a couple of things and for him to pass a physical.’’ “We took him out of high school, we have been on him a long time,’’ Oppenheimer said. “He runs a 6.4 60 and can hit the ball out of the ballpark. He has a plus arm and a good strong body. He can play center field or in the corners. He gives himself a lot of opportunities.’’