Derek Jeter’s first hit last night was a gift, a ground ball to shortstop that would have been a close play but almost certainly an out had the throw not gone wide. No error was called. His second hit was a clean single to center field.
With nine games left during this home stand, Jeter is 12 hits away. He’s now averaging 1.11 hits per game, which still leaves him on pace to reach 3,000 hits on the road. But just barely.
“I would like to (hit it at home),” Jeter said before yesterday’s game. “I’d be lying to you if I said no. There are 10 other pitchers, at least, who don’t want me to do it here. I’ll try, and we’ll see what happens. We have a long home stand. I’m really not focused on it as of yet because it’s still a ways away, but I would love to do it here. Any time you get a chance to do something special here at the stadium, you appreciate it, the atmosphere, the environment. The Yankee fans get into it.”
It’s an interesting situation to follow, but at this point it’s hard to call it much of a distraction for Jeter or the team.
Jeter’s missed only two games and played as many as 16 days in a row this season, so it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him in the lineup every day this home stand even without the milestone chase. The media seems interested in the chase for 3,000, but not infatuated to the point of surrounding Jeter for 15 minutes a day everyday. And Jeter himself, well, he’s Jeter. He’s already been through a similar situation with the pursuit of Lou Gehrig’s franchise hit record.
“I’m aware of it, but it’s still something that can’t happen today,” he said. “If it does happen today, we’ll be here for a long time. There’s still some time.”
Associated Press photo