When Derek Jeter sat behind the microphone this morning, there was a pause before anyone asked a question. That’s when Jeter joked that the press conference must have ended quickly. But with Jeter, there’s always plenty to talk about.
Jeter didn’t say anything about his contract — “My focus is only on getting back April 1,” he said. “I can’t think about what’s going to happen next year, or two years from now.” — and he wouldn’t comment on Alex Rodriguez’s latest PED controversy. Instead, he talked a lot about his ankle and his absolute belief that he’ll be back by April 1.
Here are some highlights, starting with video of Jeter answering a question about whether Opening Day is a realistic goal.
On his offseason
“My offseason was terrible. Absolutely terrible. … Physically. Mentally it was rough, too, but more physical. I was stuck on the couch for a good five, six weeks where I really couldn’t move around too much. From the point I had the injury I had to wait a week for the surgery and then the next three or four weeks I’m just basically sitting there with my leg elevated. So physically it was a challenge. I don’t want to make it seem more dramatic than it is, but you got to learn to walk again, so in that sense physically it was a challenge, and then mentally it’s a challenge when you sit on the couch and you can’t get anywhere. I had a little scooter I could to move around, but it was tough. It was not fun.”
On whether he knew he was running the risk of breaking his ankle
“No. I didn’t know that. Initially it was a bone bruise that progressed from there. After it was originally diagnosed, maybe four or five weeks after it happened, they told me it was a bone bruise. I’m not going to ask them to look at it again. You just keep playing. And then eventually it turned into a stress fracture and broke in half. But no, I wasn’t aware of that. If you can play, you play. Like I always told you before, I don’t think you ever really talk about injuries because then it’s an excuse. I was told I was able to play so I played. Unfortunately it broke, but I would do the same thing over again if I had to.”
On when he’ll run on the field for the first time
“I took the last few days off. I would assume tomorrow, but that’s just making an assumption. I haven’t spoken to the trainers. The last few days, I didn’t do anything. I pretty much do that every year before spring training starts. I’ve only been running on a treadmill up to this point, but I would have to assume if not tomorrow then the next couple days.”
On his range of motion with a plate and screws in his ankle
“The plate and screws, I guess you can take them out if you really want to take them out, but I’ve been told there’s no need to take them out, so they’re going to stay. Range of motion, I pretty much have all of it back now. We’ve tested it as compared to the other ankle, and we’ve kept the log of how it’s been progressing throughout the offseason, and it’s pretty much all the way back.”
On watching the end of the postseason
“It was tough. Was it Game 2 I didn’t see much of because I was at the hospital getting tests? I saw, I think, towards the end of the game. I have a problem watching games anyway, but it was rough to watch. It’s unfortunate. I tell you guys all the time, sometimes teams go hot, sometimes they go cold. It seems like our entire team went cold at the same time. So yeah, it was tough to watch, especially in the playoffs. I’ve never had to do that before.”
On the age of the Yankees
“We’re experienced. What can you say? We’ve got guys that are older than maybe some other teams, but sometimes you can use that to your advantage. That’s why I said the other day that we’re more experienced instead of saying we’re older. If you win then we’re experience. If you lose, we’re old. But I’d like to think the other guys are viewing it the same way. I don’t think you go out on the field thinking to yourself how old you are. It may sound corny, but we’re playing a kid’s game, so when you’re playing the game, you actually feel as though you’re a kid. That’s just always been the way I’ve looked at it.”
On whether he’s spoken to Mariano Rivera about the rehab process
“No. I’ve never worried about Mariano’s motivation. I don’t think he’s ever worried about mine. I reached out to him and he’d changed his number – he changes his number a lot – so I couldn’t get a hold of him. But he was working hard. We were able to see him last season in and out of the clubhouse, so you know that Mo’s going to work hard. No, we haven’t spoken about it at all. I saw him today. ‘How are you feeling?’ That was pretty much it in terms of the injury. We didn’t have any long conversations about it.”