Derek Jeter is coming home. Tonight will be his first game in the Bronx since June 13, and unlike his last game at Yankee Stadium, he’ll be playing with a reasonable chance of reaching 3,000 hits.
“Our fans have always been pretty good when they have an opportunity to witness something that hasn’t been happening,” he said. “They care a lot about the history of this organization, so I anticipate them being pretty animated. I don’t know, but I would think it would be kind of fun.”
Jeter is going to play, Joe Girardi’s made that much clear. The new plan is to play Jeter until he gets No. 3,000, then the Yankees will think about resting him.
“There will be a lot of flash bulbs going off, I’m sure,” Girardi said. “I think it’s going to be great. People have anticipated this for a while. The countdown had started, so people are pretty excited. We are. I know we are, in the dugout, for him to get it done.”
Jeter’s swung the bat pretty well the past two days. He admitted that Monday’s game felt kind of like Opening Day, but he seems to have grown more comfortable in the short time he’s been back on a big league field. Last night he was the only Yankee to have a pretty good night against Justin Masterson.
“It’s not like I’m trying to do anything different,” he said, repeating his familiar phrase throughout this countdown. “It would be different if I was trying to hit home runs or something like that. In that sense, everything is pretty much the same.”
Here’s Jeter after last night’s game. Sorry, the audio’s not great.
By the way, Rays manager Joe Maddon is thinking about No. 3,000. Earlier this week, Maddon tweeted that Jeter might reach the milestone against Tampa Bay, and the Yankees “can derive energy from it.” Maddon said he saw that happen, “when I saw Cal pass Gehrig.”
Associated Press photos