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Report: Jeter to return Thursday

New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter will reportedly rejoin the team for their afternoon game against the Kansas City Royals Thursday afternoon.

Jeter hasn't played at the major league level all season while recovering from a broken left ankle he suffered during Game 1 of last year's American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers.

The 13-time All-Star is expected to come off the disabled list and will be in the lineup either at shortstop or as the designated hitter, according to FOXSports.

Jeter went 0-for-3 and committed a throwing error during a seven-inning stint Wednesday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a 5-1 loss to Rochester.

The 39-year-old Jeter, the Yankees' team captain, played his fourth rehab game. He is 1-for-9 in his rehab stint.

Jeter was expected to come back earlier this season, but then in mid-April doctors discovered a small crack in the area from the previous injury, which delayed his return.

Jeter's return will mark a sizeable step in the Yankees getting back a big portion of their lineup. First baseman Mark Teixeira had right wrist surgery and is out for the season. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez hasn't played due to left hip surgery and he could be facing a suspension for his alleged link to Biogenesis in MLB's latest doping scandal.

Shortstop Jayson Nix went on the 15-day DL earlier this month due to a strained right hamstring. Curtis Granderson and Kevin Youkilis are also sidelined.

To make matters worse, center fielder Brett Gardner and DH Travis Hafner were both hurt in Wednesday's win over the Royals. Hafner departed with a left foot contusion, while Gardner was replaced due to a right leg contusion. Both players had x-rays, which turned up negative and are day-to-day. Hafner was hurt when he fouled a ball off his foot while swinging in the cage between innings.

Despite the rash of injuries, the Yankees have managed a 49-42 record, although they are in fourth place in the AL East, six games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox.

Jeter is coming off a productive 2012 season in which he hit for a .316 batting average with 15 homers, 58 RBI and 99 runs scored.