TORONTO - Although much of the population looks at turning 40 as a milestone birthday, Derek Jeter does not.
"It's not like you're walking around with a scarlet letter on," Jeter said before Wednesday's game against Toronto. "It's a birthday . . . it's really no different. Just like any other birthday."
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Jeter turns 40 Thursday -- an off day for the Yankees -- and there is no public bash planned, he said. Just a gathering, perhaps, of some family and friends.
"I don't think about it," Jeter said of his age. "I think your mind is very important. If you start thinking that way that's when you're in trouble. My mindset it to treat it no differently than any other age. That's just how I cope with it."
There have only been a handful of everyday 40-year-old shortstops and Jeter, set to retire at season's end, is one of them. He isn't having the kind of season typical of his career, hitting .267 with a .322 on-base percentage entering Wednesday, but chalks that up to missing most of last season to injuries rather than age.
"It's taken a while to get back into the swing of things," he said. "You play this game every day for a reason, and when you miss an entire year it takes a little while to get back into the flow of the game. I thought it would come quicker but it's taken a while."
Including Wednesday, Jeter played in 67 of the Yankees first 77 games, more than plenty from Joe Girardi's standpoint but not enough for the shortstop.
"I don't like days off, I don't want days off," Jeter said. "If he [Girardi] decides to do it, you have to ask him that question."