I guess Derek Jeter moves around a lot when he talking to a group of reporters. I never noticed until last night when I was trying to get a little bit of up-close video at the Joe Torre event. Moving around or not, Jeter’s stance on 2014 was pretty steady and predictable. He expects to be fully healthy, which means he expects to be a productive shortstop.
Of course, Jeter wasn’t the only person at Joe Torre’s foundation gala last night. Here are the thoughts of a couple of guys who know Jeter pretty well.
The guest of honor last night, Posada stepped up to a group of baseball writers and was asked almost exclusively about Jeter.
“To tell you the truth, knowing him, (he’s thinking about) just getting ready,” Posada said. “Putting all his efforts into being able to work out and work his legs. He’s a big guy of (wanting to be) feeling good, just having his legs underneath him and being able to work out; things he couldn’t do last year.”
There were a few questions about Jeter’s mindset that Posada didn’t want to answer. He didn’t want to speak for his friend, but Posada made his own expectations perfectly clear.
“I think he’s getting ready for (a full season at shortstop),” Posada said. “That’s what he’s preparing for. If you ask him, he’s going ot get ready for a full season. … I believe in him, and I believe he’s able to do a lot of things. You can’t count Derek Jeter out.”
The host of last night’s event, Torre stepped up to the same group of baseball writers and was asked the same sort of questions. The focus was on Jeter.
“I’m pretty hopeful that he’ll be fully recovered,” Torre said. “The reason I say that, I had a chat with him toward the latter part of this past season, and he was trying to heal and get in shape at the same time. I think that was probably difficult. Obviously it was difficult to have that happen. Now that the healing has been taken care of, now he can really concentrate on getting in shape. I’m hopeful that he’ll be back. He’s special. I’m a little biased in that regard, but of course he’s always had an optimistic outlook on this thing. I just have a sense that he’ll be a little healthier.”
As a long-time manager of Jeter, Torre actually has some perspective on the possibility of Jeter being asked to play a smaller-than-usual role going forward.
“I’m speaking for me on what I think, and to me, I think Derek Jeter will play baseball as long as he feels he is benefiting the team, whatever role. That’s my feeling,” Torre said. “He’s not going to hang around because he’s Derek Jeter. He’s going to have to be a contributor. I think he sort of understands that it’s his body, he knows how he feels. … He’s really special. I think he can will himself to do stuff. I watched Mariano do it.”
Shaky video by me; Posada photo from The Associated Press