BOS@NYY: Girardi says Jeter will be everyday player

NEW YORK -- Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has been taking batting practice and fielding ground balls at the club's training complex in Tampa, Fla., but he has still not received clearance to play in Minor League games.

Jeter's progress has been slow since he felt soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle on March 23, the last time he has played in a game. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Tuesday that Jeter is not likely to rejoin the club by May 1.

"That was a date that was thrown out there," Girardi said. "The easiest way for me to say it is, he'll be back when he's back, when he can physically do it on an everyday basis.

"I don't think any of us are going to know the exact date until we go through some trial and error. He's not ready to play in games. I don't think they necessarily have an exact date of when he's going to play in games, and we'll just go day by day and see how he feels."

Girardi said that Jeter worked out on Saturday and Sunday at the complex, and The Associated Press reported that the Yankees' captain ran on the field on Monday and Tuesday. But after Jeter pushed himself during Spring Training in order to try to be on the field for Opening Day, the Yankees have encouraged him to back off his routine for fear of aggravating the injury.

"Sometimes I think you can take too many ground balls, and they talked about lessening that load a little bit just because he was taking so many," Girardi said. "Derek is such a creature of habit. To get him to break a cycle sometimes is difficult. He's going to want to do as much as he can as soon as he can, so we're just trying to make sure that we don't go too fast. But there was no setback."

'Sweet Caroline' in Bronx part of Boston tribute

ARI@NYY: Yankees honor Boston with 'Sweet Caroline'

NEW YORK -- Kevin Youkilis has walked along Boston's Boylston Street countless times, including to attend past runnings of the Boston Marathon, and the Yankees infielder said he and his family were "pretty much sick to our stomachs" as they watched Monday's events on television.

"It's just a tragic day," Youkilis said. "You have thousands of people down there just really enjoying amazing feats. I've been down there on the finish line, and it's an amazing thing to watch these people finish a marathon. Then something tragic like that happens; you can't put it in to words."

On Tuesday, the Yankees held a moment of silence prior to their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks to honor those lost and affected by the events, and to pay tribute to the strength and resilience of the Boston community.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the families who were affected by the bombings and our respect and admiration go out to the police, medical personnel and first responders who acted so heroically," the Yankees said in a statement. "We stand united with the participants, volunteers, staff and spectators of the Boston Marathon and the people of Boston."

In addition, the Yankees played Neil Diamond's Fenway Park favorite "Sweet Caroline" over the public-address system between the third and fourth innings of Tuesday's game.

"I think it's important that we recognize that we're all behind the people in Boston and everyone that was involved," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You think about that being a song that's a tradition there -- it's special to Fenway Park and the people of Boston. We're behind them. Put the baseball teams aside. We want to be there for them."

Youkilis said that he and his wife, Julie, spent most of Monday afternoon reaching out to as many people as they could in the Boston area, knowing that thousands turn out annually to cheer on runners and take part in the Patriots Day festivities.

"I actually was at the finish line one year, right there," Youkilis said. "I would've been on the other side of the street, where that [bombing] would've occurred. I would've been in plain view of where the first explosion went off.

"My wife, she has run in the Boston Marathon a couple of times and her sisters have run in it, too. You always know somebody in Boston that's run in it, is close, a family member, a loved one, the awesome people that go to it. There's so many people that go to it. It's just a sad day, especially with the children that have been injured."

Youkilis said that during his time with the Red Sox, players would gather in the clubhouse to marvel at the speed of the top marathon finishers. Patriots Day has also traditionally been a festive time at Fenway Park, complete with a giant U.S. flag draped over the Green Monster, and Youkilis said that he hopes Monday's tragic events will not change that atmosphere.

"It's the most exciting day of the year in Boston," Youkilis said. "People are off work -- they celebrate it and cheer on the runners. It's such a positive atmosphere. Personally, I've never seen so many people just sitting there and cheering for people running that they don't even know. They give them a boost of energy. It's a pretty remarkable thing."

Pettitte set for Friday after successful session

Girardi on Pettitte's back spasms

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte said that he threw about 40 pitches in a bullpen session on Tuesday and should have no issue being ready to start against the Blue Jays in Toronto on Friday evening.

Pettitte, 40, experienced back spasms after traveling back to New York from Cleveland last week, prompting the Yankees to push him back in the rotation.

The left-hander would have preferred to pitch in the series against the D-backs, as originally scheduled, but he said he understood the club's caution.

"I feel good; it was a good decision," Pettitte said. "I don't want to second-guess anybody. I'll go Friday. It's not that big of an issue. Hopefully, I'll feel great Friday."

Pettitte has looked terrific in his first two starts of the season, going 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA against the Red Sox and Indians, and he expressed some concern that the long layoff might affect his command in Toronto.

"I can tell I haven't pitched," Pettitte said. "I feel strong. I'm back to square one. When I get out there Friday, it's going to be trying to control yourself when you feel a little bit strong.

"Obviously, they want to see how I feel after this, and I'll be real excited if I come in [on Wednesday] and feel really, really good and have no tightness or anything like that creep up there after I worked it as hard as I did today. So we'll see what happens."