The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


The Captain speaks

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 24, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Derek Jeter is occasionally in a sarcastic mood.

“Well, I decided to hit left-handed this year,” he said this morning, responding to a question about going back to his old mechanics. “I’m going to try that in the first half and see if it works.”

The Yankees captain is 37 years old. He’s been interviewed hundreds of times — probably thousands – so he comfortable with the format, familiar with the back and forth. He’s at ease enough to make some jokes, and even when he says nothing at all, people listen. Here are a few comments from Jeter’s annual preseason media session.

On the Michael Pineda trade
“I was shocked when we got Pineda. We faced him, I believe only one time last year, but you’re talking about someone who’s 22, 23 years old, with an arm like that. You don’t really acquire guys like that too often, so I was excited about it. I think the organization as a whole is excited about it because, like I said, that doesn’t happen too often. You feel bad that Montero has to leave, but you’re excited you get to have an opportunity to have a guy like that on your team for a long time.”

On coming to camp without Jorge Posada or Andy Pettitte
It’s awkward. I think that’s the better way to put it, just because you’re so used to seeing someone. With Andy, he was the dumb one of the group that left and went to Houston for a few years. We sorta got used to him not being here. Jorge, probably it hasn’t hit me yet. In spring training, pitchers and catchers are on a different schedule anyway, so you really don’t see people too often. That’ll be a tough one, because as everyone knows, we were together all the time. But yeah, it is kinda weird when you’re used to playing with someone. I’ve played with these guys since I’ve been 18 years old. When they’re not there, it’s kinda awkward. But you’ve got to move on. You have no choice.”

On whether last season’s ending came as a shock
“It’s always a shock when you lose, especially when you feel as though you could win. We felt as though we had a team that was capable of winning, but Detroit played better than us. It’s always shocking when you’re season ends so abruptly. We liked the position we were in. We were in a Game 5 at home, and we didn’t get it done. They played better. It is a shock and it takes you quite some time to get over it.”

On whether this year’s team is better than last year
“I haven’t read the name tags yet. Everything keeps changing in the last few days. One thing you’ve heard me say before, we always have an opportunity to win. We have a lot of great players that are on our team, we’ve made some great acquisitions, we have a lot of guys coming back. But it’s hard to tell. You felt good about last year’s team going in. We felt as though we had a team that could win. Feel the same way this year. You’ve got to get through spring training and see what happens, and hopefully you can stay away from injuries. But I like who’s on our team.”

On the improvement in the American League
“It’s probably as tough as it’s been. I think throughout the years everyone has talked so much about the AL East and how difficult it is and how good the teams are. But you look at the West, Texas has won the American League the past couple of years. In the Central, what those guys are doing. Our league is very, very challenging for all the teams, regardless of what division you’re in now. I think now people can stop just talking about the AL East. I think the American League as a whole is difficult.”

On whether preparation is more difficult with age
“The work was never fun. The work was always a challenge. But that is true, it becomes a lot more difficult. As you get older, you realize that it’s easier to stay in shape than it is to get back in shape, so you take a lot less time off. It gets more and more difficult every year. But you expect that. I don’t think things are supposed to come easy. Playing the games is the easy part. It’s the preparation that’s difficult.”

On his motivation to keep preparing winter after winter
“Because I enjoy playing. That’s the biggest thing. I enjoy playing, I enjoy competing, I enjoy what I do. You make some sacrifices. If sacrifice is working hard, or doing something that you may not necessarily enjoy doing all the time in terms of preparation, then that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.Because I enjoy playing. That’s the biggest thing. I enjoy playing, I enjoy competing, I enjoy what I do. You make some sacrifices. If sacrifice is working hard, or doing something that you may not necessarily enjoy doing all the time in terms of preparation, then that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”

Associated Press photo

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