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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Derek Jeter and his new swing

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 20, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Derek Jeter said the conversation about his stride began a few years ago. It wasn’t unusual for him to eliminate the stride through his first few batting practice swings, and one day Jeter told Kevin Long that he’d like to take that approach into the season at some point.

“This was a couple of years ago, and I felt at the time it wasn’t necessary to try to do it,” Jeter said. “Last year we got into a situation where we felt it was necessary, so we tried to cut that down.”

Necessity forced the issue. Jeter went 1-for-7 in Texas on September 10, dropping his average to .260 with a .326 on-base percentage. He sat out on September 11, and used that day to work on his new swing. He put it into action on September 12 — against Cliff Lee — and went 1-for-2 with two walks and a two-out, RBI double that gave the Yankees the lead. That was the start of a .342/.436/.392 slash line through his final 19 games of the regular season.

“It’s really something that you shouldn’t be trying to do during the season, but in that situation, we felt we really had no choice,” Jeter said. “… I was striding late, I was striding too far forward (toward the plate), and I think it was tying up everything in my swing. So toward the end of the year when we made those adjustments, I tried to take the stride out, but I’ve been hitting like that for 30 years so it’s pretty difficult to do in one day in Texas. I’m trying to continue that throughout the offseason. You really can’t tell until you start facing pitching. I feel pretty good about it now, but it’s going to be an adjustment. That’s what spring training is for.”

Jeter said he believes the change will put him in a position to hit more quickly. He won’t be tied up on inside pitches, and the balls he does get to won’t be hit into the ground as often. Could this be proof that his swing is slowing down in his late 30s?

“I think it’s more getting into bad habits,” Jeter said. “Could be the other one, but I’ll go with the first one.”

For more on the technicalities of what’s going on with Jeter’s swing, Kevin Long gave a tremendous demonstration this afternoon in the Yankees clubhouse. Some of it was explained physically, but I think the text of Long’s words paints a pretty good picture. Everything in italics is quoting Long.

This is a lot of text, but I think it’s worth it. Long’s terrific when he’s breaking down a specific hitter’s swing, and a specific hitter’s approach.

What exactly are you changing?

The issue with the stride foot is when it crosses over and goes this way (toward the plate) and the ball is coming inside, you don’t have a path to get to that pitch. Now, let’s say a cutter from (Jon) Lester is coming in at 93 mph. You’re going to try to do what Jeter does best, which is stay inside of it. So he’s going to try to do this (keep his hands and body inside) and try to stay into it. You can’t do it (when you cross over). Now, by staying square and going up on his toe and going to here (mimics the beginning of an inside swing) he’s creating an avenue for his hips to get through and to become square to the baseball.

Why so many ground balls last year?

When you block off and you can’t clear your hips and you hit the ball, you’re basically smothering the baseball. You don’t have an avenue to get the barrel to it. If we’re square and I go here (clean swing at an inside pitch) and I can clear my hips, it allows by bat head to get there, and it allows me to elevate the baseball a lot more.

If it worked before, why doesn’t it work now?

I think the game has changed where the pitching is better. This cutter is a serious pitch that’s basically been brought into existence in the past two or three (years). Mariano’s had it, but nobody else. Every guy has a cutter now. You’ve got a Jon Lester cutter that’s coming in at, let’s say 95. Try to stay inside that pitch. You can’t do it. Guys have better command in and out I would say than they ever have. There’s no secrets. People pitch Jeet in, and he sees a lot of pitches inside. This will free him up in there and at least give him the opportunity to maybe get to those balls and pull them correctly.

The other thing is, we’re tying to shorten his swing. We’re trying to get it to be more direct to the baseball. It’s kind of a catch 22 because there wasn’t a lot of length before other than, he’d try to catch it in here and he couldn’t get the ball in the air because he was closing off.

Will this change the kind of hitter he is?

Does it mean you’ll probably see more balls to left field and left center? I think so. I don’t know. I think it’s going to allow him and give him the opportunity to get to some pitches and do some things with some balls that he might not have been able to do in the past… I don’t think it’s going to be his approach. I think his approach is still going to be going the other way, but I think it’s going to be much easier to react and he’s going to find that I can get to some of those pitches very easy and pull them.

What if pitchers adjust and start pitching him away?

That’s his strength. If they want to go to his strength, then go to his strength and he’ll abuse people… As long as he’s close to the plate and he’s able to hit that outside pitch without reaching and without striding in (he’ll be fine). We already talked about he’d probably have to get a little bit closer to the plate.

Did you wait too long to make this change?

I asked Jeet, I said, ‘Did we wait too long to do it?’ He said, ‘In my opinion, no.’ And in my opinion we didn’t wait too long. I think you have to let this thing play out a little bit.

What’s the role of age in this situation?

I’ll just talk about it from my personal standpoint. I don’t feel as good any more as I used to. There’s got to be a point in time when things are going to slow down. Is that part of this equation? I’m sure it is somewhat. How much? I don’t think any of us know that. But when you get older, things become a little more difficult. The big thing is keeping Jeet’s durability, keeping his body fresh. I think Joe does a good job picking spots for him to sort of be fresh with his body and active with his body. I’m sure he’s slowed down a little bit. I would say that. Is Derek Jeter’s best baseball behind him? I wouldn’t say that. I’m not ready to go there.

Associated Press photo of Jeter from today’s press conference

 
 

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64 Responses to “Derek Jeter and his new swing”

  1. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    repost:

    mel, if you remember, Pete got rid of ER because he realized that his sole purpose here was to be disruptive and not to add anything to the mix. I’m not quite sure why Chad doesn’t do the same to Ruby Tuesday. Pete did the same thing to that idiot Bunny person. There’s a huge difference between fans from other teams coming here and talking up their teams to the detriment of the Yankees, and total idiots like Ruby hanging around here with the sole purpose of p*ssing people off by posting stupid little goading posts.

    That said, maybe the idiot Ruby will ask some kind of moronic question about Jeter. (my tie in to this thread.)

  2. Ruby Tuesday February 20th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I guess we all will know when he bats against the 2011 Cy Young J*n L*st*r .

  3. blake February 20th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Sounds great. Jeter is always going to be a little unconventional is his approach and mechanics but there are ways for him to steal more time if he’s losing bat speed and it sounds like they are making good adjustments.

  4. upstate kate February 20th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    good timing w/ the post…Jeet just hit a walk off to win game 4 of the 01 WS, becoming Mr November :)

  5. Ys Guy February 20th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    as i was reading this post, jeter lashed an inside pitch to the warning track in right center on YES.

  6. Ys Guy February 20th, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    …and there it is. and stupid ruby doesnt even realize we were talking about him b/c he doesnt even bother to check if anyone responded to him. what it is just, like a genetic need to troll even when you dont bother to check if its working? like going fishing without baiting the hook b/c then you have to reel the thing in and put it in the bucket…

  7. West Coast Yankee Fan February 20th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    …and yet you keep talking about him over and over again.

  8. Bronx Jeers February 20th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    G*tl*ss R*d S*x f*ns .

    A dime a dozen aren’t they?

  9. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Bronx – :D

    I wouldn’t think you could command that much for a dozen, what with the recession and all. Probably a plug nickel.

  10. tyanksfan36 February 20th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Ok. Here are the pictures I took from today. All 130 of them. They start out with the last one I took and then go to the first, so if you want to start at the beginning of today then go to page 8. Enjoy! I got a lot of Montero, he was just fun to look at.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/58208470@N04/

    also, I am working on uploading about 5 videos right now. When they are up then I will put the link up.

  11. Ghost of Steinbrenner February 20th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Anybody going to venture a guess as to what Jeets numbers will this year?

  12. SAS February 20th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    tyanks,

    Thanks so much for all your hard work. I think I can speak for all of us in telling you how much we appreciate what you are doing.

  13. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Seriously, as annoying as Ruby is – and he is annoying – I can’t imagine what it has to be like to root for a team that is always in the shadow of another team, to try to hold your head up high knowing that your team, in its entire history, was only able to win 7 world series when your main competitor has 27 and is regarded as the most illustrious and successful franchise in the history of organized sports.

    Imagine the push and pull always going on in your heart if the best you can do to purge yourself of the ugly truth is to go on the competition’s website and post silly little questions and statements.

    How very sad for R*by and his pathetic S*x*rs. How very very sad.

    Poor R*by.

  14. blake February 20th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    tyanks,

    thanks for posting those…..Montero is gigantic

  15. Fran the original February 20th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    tyanks,

    Thanks for all of the great pictures. Between you and Chad it’s like we are at spring training :)

  16. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Don’t know if htis has been posted, but here is an update on Wang from Nationals GM:

    MZ: We’ve seen Chien-Ming Wang throw twice in the bullpen here so far. The first one wasn’t so encouraging. The second one got better reviews. Do you have a sense of where he is and what his real timeline is?
    MR: There’s no timeline until he gets on a mound and, like the rest of them, is ready to pitch with a hitter in the box ready to go. We’ll know where he’s at, just like the rest of the pitchers. We saw him pitch four or five times in Arizona even before he got here. We’ve seen a couple of bullpens here. We think he’s progressing. He’s pain-free. He’s not in rehab-mode. He’s in preparation-mode for the season. His timeline will depend on how much he builds arm strength and stamina to go deep into games as we go deeper into spring training.

    MZ: So, barring any setbacks, he’ll be available to pitch in exhibition games as soon as they start?
    MR: Yes.

    Source: http://www.csnwashington.com/0.....eedID=5685

  17. tyanksfan36 February 20th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    He is huge. He definitely stands out among the catchers. I could always tell which one was him when they were standing with their gear on. On the flipside of him is Martin who stands out because he is the shortest catcher.

  18. blake February 20th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Montero look noticeably thinner than I remember him last year….and maybe a little taller as well. I just watched some video of him from 2009 and its a pretty big difference.

  19. tyanksfan36 February 20th, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I’m pretty much downloading all the video I took from today. They are mostly 25 to 35 second clips, but have a lot in them, some fielding, catching drills and quite a few from Batting Practice. They will probably be done uploading to youtube in an hour.

  20. blake February 20th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    tyanks….there is one on youtube now of Montero and Romine hitting. Is that yours?

  21. GreenBeret7 February 20th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Any word on whether there was a trade of player with the Phillies on Schlitter or did NYYs just take the waiver money?

  22. Crawdaddy February 20th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    They placed him on waivers and the Phillies claimed him. That’s it.

  23. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    GB7

    Waiver deal…not a whole lot of shlitt for the money if you ask me.

  24. tyanksfan36 February 20th, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    blake

    no, I have video of Romine but I didnt upload it. my youtube channel is at

    http://www.youtube.com/itsawesomebaby20

    so far I think only 2 of my videos have uploaded. Theres still 12 that are waiting to upload.

  25. GreenBeret7 February 20th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Ok, so the yanks took the cash.

  26. upstate kate February 20th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    thanks Tyanks
    Montero is a beast!

  27. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    yes

  28. GreenBeret7 February 20th, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    For those that follow the Trenton Thunder on the radio, there’s been a station change.

    From Josh Norris:

    “The press conference will announce the details of a new partnership that includes WTSR 91.3 FM becoming the new flagship station of the Trenton Thunder Radio Network.”

  29. 108 stitches February 20th, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    If there’s such a thing as a hitting coach with a PhD then Kevin Long has it. He’s very approachable and studies his craft and hitters intensely.
    Many good hitting coaches in the big leagues but KL ranks up there with the best. He probably doesn’t stop talking hitting from the minute he enters the ballpark until the minute he leaves.

  30. upstate kate February 20th, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    for you Tyanks
    Justin Bieber wins the celebrity basketball MVP:
    http://apnews.myway.com//artic.....JFVO0.html

  31. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    BTW–

    I was happy to see SJ44?s comments about head trauma and desire for Jorge not to catch this year. I totlaly agree with himand was having this conversaion with another Yankee friend just the other night. It is a serious issue, and more needs to be done to protect these players (even agsint their own desires to catch)

  32. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    TY–

    Thanks for the videos! You are recording history!

  33. tyanksfan36 February 20th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Thanks Kate! I didnt watch the NBA allstar game but I knew he was playing in it. I will have to go on youtube and find video of him.

    And yes, Montero is a beast, one of the biggest(not fattest lol) on the field. And good looking too, not as cute as Robbie but he is up there.

  34. GreenBeret7 February 20th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Sad to see that Dustin McGowen is going to retire from baseball if his shoulder is bothering him again this year. He, along with Marcum had the makings of pretty good pitchers. Toronto’s going to regret giving up Marcum.

  35. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    “Thanks for the videos! You are recording history!”

    You know I never thought of it that way, but by God she is. Wow.

  36. tyanksfan36 February 20th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Bojo

    As much fun as it has been recording the videos and taking the pictures, it has just been a blast and a blessing that I have the time and ability to be able to go up there and experience it all. Seriously, it is no fun being the away team when I see them in the regular season at Tropicana and not being to ever see them in pinstripes in NY but being able to get so close to them in such an intimate setting like Spring Training. Its just awesome.

  37. Betsy February 20th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Oh, poor McGowen – he’s young, too.

  38. GreenBeret7 February 20th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    TY, you’d better be careful with what you say about Cano. There’s a couple of cougarettes on here that will track you down for trying to muscle in on their territory.

  39. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Sad about McGowen…a goo dkid from what I’ve read in past. Lots of potential at one time.

    But there is a lesson there too. Don’t count your pitching prospects before they hatch.

  40. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    “Sad to see that Dustin McGowen is going to retire from baseball if his shoulder is bothering him again this year. He, along with Marcum had the makings of pretty good pitchers. Toronto’s going to regret giving up Marcum.”

    :( :( :(

    That somehow feels so unfair. The Jays have had some really promising young pitching and yet so many of them go down with injuries. I remember a year when they had more of their young guys injured than playing. It seems to be a trend with them. It makes me wonder whether these kids are being trained correctly, if they’re working out too hard, if they felt any particular pressure to achieve. I’m talking about the pitchers.

    I am going to pray that McGowen is okay because it seems such a travesty that someone with so much promise could possibly be out of the game at a young age. It sucks.

  41. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Trisha–

    To me, it is like seeing those rare videos of Ted Williams and Styan Musial that HBO used to play as shows. Can’t recall name…wish I had copies.

    Years from now, hopefully TY will keep these videos and share them again…

  42. tyanksfan36 February 20th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    GB

    Well I paid Robbie a compliment, saying that Montero is good looking just not as good looking as Cano.

  43. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Trisha–

    Sometimes I have to wonder if we are sharing the same brain.

  44. GreenBeret7 February 20th, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Trisha, they brought three young pitchers up together…Marcum, McGowen and Litsch. They pitched them to death and all three came down with arm injuries. Really ashamed. And everyone complains about the way the Yanks “baby” their pitchers. That’s why.

    McGowen lives about 7 miles from me.

  45. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Just remembered ” When It Was a Game”

  46. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Bojo, I hear you, and I consider that a compliment because I know how accomplished you are.

    :)

  47. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    GB–I seem to recall they also had a promising LHP with I think a french name…arm troubles too

  48. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    “McGowen lives about 7 miles from me.”

    Wow. You could pop by and leave a nice note of support in his mailbox, asking his parents to send it to him! :) Or his wife, whatever the case is.

  49. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Gustavo Chacin

  50. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Chacin?

  51. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    :) :) :)

  52. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    trisha – true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Bojo, I hear you, and I consider that a compliment because I know how accomplished you are.
    ————–
    Likewise–

    It also explains why a certain troll picks on you! :-)

  53. GreenBeret7 February 20th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    tyanksfan36 February 20th, 2011 at 5:18 pm
    GB

    Well I paid Robbie a compliment, saying that Montero is good looking just not as good looking as Cano.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    That’s what I’m saying. The LoHud Cougarettes may think you’re trying to steal him away from them. Especially since you are 10 feet away from him and they’re 1200 miles away.

    Great pix again today. Thank you for sharing them.

  54. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Amazing…

  55. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I have to leave to go to a family dinner but if you’re going to be around later, maybe we can have some Sports Bar quizzes. I can use the backs of these Yankee Stadium Legacy cards to ask questions.

    :)

  56. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Montero is going to be fighting women off. A good looking Spanish kid in NY? Ah to be young again…with his future ahead of him.

  57. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Sounds like fun!

  58. Ghost of Steinbrenner February 20th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Tyanks! Thanks for the pics and videos. I’ll be at Steinbrenner field Tuesday and will post my pics to my Twitter account. If you or anyone else is interested I’m at jim_marion@live.com

  59. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 20th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Okay check you out when I get back. It’ll beat doing taxes. :D

    Later y’all!

  60. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Does anyone here have the 3 DVD set of HBO’s “When It Was a Game?”

  61. Ys Guy February 20th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    arrow thingy

  62. BoJo February 20th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Here is a taste of it

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qWk_lxubsM

  63. Ghost of Steinbrenner February 20th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Sorry about the brain fart. If anyone is interested in my pics and videos from Steinbrenner field from my upcoming trip Tuesday let me know here James_Marion@live.com

  64. West Coast Yankee Fan February 20th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Couldn’t resist could you Brad/Bojo. You want to start trouble?


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