Derek Jeter calls uniform firestorm 'comical'

Derek Jeter stands at first base after passing

Derek Jeter stands at first base after passing Willie Mays for 10th all-time on baseball's hit list with No. 3,284 in his career. (Sept. 14, 2012) (Credit: David Pokress)

Derek Jeter on Friday laughed off the media firestorm that began when he told an ESPN.com reporter he could see himself playing in another uniform one day.

"I think it's comical that we're talking about it after I've told you guys time and time again I can't picture myself playing anywhere else," Jeter said.

The Yankees' captain said he was responding to a question about Peyton Manning being forced to leave the Indianapolis Colts when he said, "Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes. It's a business. People forget that."

Manning, who spent 14 seasons with the Colts, is now with the Denver Broncos.

"I'm going to tell you what went down," Jeter said before the Yankees hosted the A's at Yankee Stadium. "I was asked about Peyton Manning going from Indianapolis to Denver. The question was in reference to if the organization doesn't want you around anymore and you still want to play. You have no choice but to go to another team. I think it's common sense. But I'm glad you guys had fun with it. From what I understand."

Jeter, who is having a terrific season at age 38, has one more guaranteed year left on his contract at $17 million. He has a player option for 2014 for $8 million with incentives that could bring it to $11.5 million. If he declines the option, he collects a $3-million bonus and becomes a free agent before his age 40 season.

But Jeter said none of that is on his mind. Also not on his mind: the acrimonious negotiations he had with the Yankees for his current contract. Jeter said at the time the sniping between his agent and Yankee executives made him "angry."

But he's not angry now.

"It was joking around during the whole interview," Jeter said. "So no."

Asked if he thinks he's going to finish his career as a Yankee, Jeter said: "That's what I've told you my focus has been since Day One. So why are we even talking about this?"

Alex Rodriguez, asked what he thought of the issue, said: "That will never happen. I never see Derek playing in another uniform. I see him forever, for the next thousand years in pinstripes. Even when he's 50 or 60, who knows, he'll still be probably helping out and being a leader and being a captain to the Yankees franchise."

ESPN.com posted the Q&A interview on Thursday night as Jeter was going 2-for-4 to raise his average to .323 in the Yankees' 10-7 victory over Toronto. The exchange was reported as:

Q: Peyton Manning changed teams this season after 14 seasons with one team. Could you see yourself doing that?

Jeter: Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes. It's a business. People forget that.

In the Q & A, Jeter was given the opportunity to say "miss" if he didn't want to answer a question. He did that to questions about his personal life, whether he wants to play until he's 45, and who the greatest Yankee of all time is, among others.

But not the question about seeing himself in another uniform.

"If I thought it was going to be a big deal, I would have said, 'Miss,' right?" Jeter said.

Asked if he understood why it became a big deal, Jeter said: "Not really."

With Erik Boland

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Jeter became the first Yankee, and 28th player ever, to reach 3,000 career hits.

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