The stopwatches instruct us Yankees captain Derek Jeter is running from home plate to first base faster than last year and is well under the major league average of 4.3 seconds from the right side. One watch got him at 4.16 on Tampa Bay’s turf; others at 4.2 on dirt.
But his legs aren’t the only limbs quicker according to several scouts who have watched/marveled at the 37-year-old shortstop’s April.
Jeter insists his blistering start — he takes a 15-game hitting streak and a .420 (34-81) average into tonight’s game against Tigers ace Justin Verlander at Yankee Stadium — is the result of sound mechanics that allow him to see the ball longer and not lunge at pitches.
The scout didn’t need to point out Jeter is driving the ball to the outfield better as an example of the increased bat speed. Instead he used a single that went up the middle but didn’t reach the outfield grass.
“The other night against Derek Holland, he got a 95-mph fastball on the hands and was quick enough to steer it up the middle,’’ the scout said. “If you don’t have bat speed you can’t do that.’’
* Nick Swisher fouled a pitch off his left knee in Wednesday’s 7-3 loss to the Rangers in the sixth inning and was limping in the clubhouse afterward and had a big wrap on it to reduce the swelling.
* Very quietly Boone Logan is having a solid first month. In 10 appearances the left-handed reliever has worked nine innings, allowed five hits and fanned 13. Opposing hitters are 0-for-5 against Logan with runners in scoring position.
* Brett Gardner expects to start taking batting practice today. It will be the first time since going on the disabled list on April 18 he will test the strained right elbow.
“Maybe 10 to 12 swings,’’ Gardner said.
According to Gardner, the Yankees want him to play in at least one minor league rehab game before being activated.
* Since appearing in back-to-back games on April 19 and 20, David Robertson hasn’t surfaced from the Yankees’ bullpen because the situations haven’t called for the premier eighth-inning reliever.
Robinson Cano went 7-for-21 (.333) on the five-game road trip but still has one homer and just three RBIs.
Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Derek Holland, the Yankees, Brett Gardner, Boone Logan, bat speed, major league