The video above is the beginning of yesterday’s Derek Jeter press conference in Baltimore. He began with a basic statement about his disappointment, then explained why he believes he will be able to get back to his old self.
“We think it’s just a matter of (the ankle) hasn’t had any strength,” Jeter said. “I haven’t been able to work out my legs or lift my legs since October of last year. … I think just having a normal offseason, getting back to being able to work out (will bring the strength back). No one foresees any other issues.”
There’s only so much to be said right now. The Yankees and their shortstop have an answer for the rest of this season, and another set of questions will have to answered over the course of the coming winter, spring and summer. For whatever Jeter was able to address yesterday, here’s the bulk of his press conference, with the questions paraphrased. You could probably guess the questions anyway just based on the answers.
And don’t forget, we’re doing a chat today at noon. Plenty to talk about, as always.
When did you know it wasn’t working this year?
“When I wasn’t moving the way I wanted to move, I wasn’t hitting the way I wanted to hit. I wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t throwing the way I wanted to throw. I’m sure some of it was probably a little bit mental, as well. Before it broke the second time, there was some normal soreness there and I was told there was going to be soreness, and you have to work through it. Then it broke again. This time when there was soreness, I’m never really one to speak on it, so I’m sure I was a little hesitant. That’s why when we took the latest CT scan, everyone was happy with the results of that.”
If it’s mental, are you worried you’ll never be the same player?
“No. Let me clarify the mental part. The mental part was feeling the soreness and wondering if this was going to happen again. Not knowing, because I hadn’t spoke on it. Once you get the tests and you realize that everything is fine, mentally, I won’t think about this again because I’ll have an opportunity to strengthen it. Everything is attached. A lot of times, people hurt something and when that heals you figure everything is all good and dandy. But you have to work out all the other areas of your body, too. There’s no doubt in my mind I’ll be back to where I was.”
What does this mean for next season’s player option in your contract?
“I haven’t thought about that. I just found out that this was the result a couple hours ago. I’ve never played a season thinking about the next one. I haven’t thought about next year really at all. Now it’s just trying to digest this, I guess, then figure out what the next step is.”
How much time will you take off?
“I don’t know. I think it’s just like a normal offseason is what I’ve been told. We really haven’t sat down (to talk about it). I was told this was the final decision an hour and a half or two hours ago, so it’s not something I’ve really given a lot of thought to. I have been told it’s going to be a normal offseason. You take a few weeks to rest – and I’ve had plenty of rest – and then get back at it.”
Knowing what’s happened since, any regrets about playing through the bone bruise last season?
“Like would I change it? No. My job is to play. You try to do your job as well as you can. I’ve always said if it’s not broke, you keep playing. It broke, so I couldn’t play. Then it broke again, so I couldn’t play. I’ll be ready.”
Any second thoughts about your aggressive approach to spring training?
“Don’t take it as I had second thoughts. I think it was a learning experience for me. I’d never been hurt like this. You get the test results, you say, ‘Hey, the ankle’s fine. Let’s go.’ I never really took into consideration how many other things you have to take care of in order to play. … I’m the one that said Opening Day (was the goal). They told me how long they thought it would take for the bone to heal, which they were right. I’m the one that said, ‘Listen, I’m going to play on this day.’ I probably wouldn’t have said that if I could go back. I don’t ever like to miss games. I want to get back and I want to play as soon as possible. … Our job is to get ready to play, it’s always been that way. I’ve tried to come back this year as quickly as possible, every time I came back. Looking back, maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do. My job now is to get ready for next year. I’ll do that.”