A day after Rodriguez gushed over the play of Dominican Republic teammate Jose Reyes, by saying, "I wish he was leading off for our team," Jeter politely declined to discuss the issue. No surprise there. It's vintage Jeter.
More concerned with building team camaraderie than addressing what A-Rod later deemed an "inadvertent diss," Jeter was all smiles yesterday during Team USA's game against the Blue Jays. The sun illuminated his face as he joked around with teammates David Wright and Dustin Pedroia during the warm-up for the World Baseball Classic. "This was really the first chance that I got to talk to them at length," Jeter said.
When asked about breaking down barriers posed by team rivalries, Jeter said, "I think everyone has a mutual respect for each other. When you're playing against them, you want to beat them, but we're on the same side [for now]. Everyone understands that."
Team USA captain Jeter also understands that there's room for more than one talented shortstop on the team, and yesterday was Jimmy Rollins' turn at the position.
Rollins joked, "I told the old man to take the day off." Despite a sore back, the Phillies shortstop doubled in two runs in Team USA's four-run, four-hit eighth inning.
The rally proved futile, however, because in the ninth the Jays jumped on Mets reliever J.J. Putz for three hits, two walks and three runs to defeat Team USA, 6-5. Even with quiet bats, Team USA manager Davey Johnson sees no reason to panic.
"It's just the time of year when all of them need their work," said Johnson, who led the Mets to the 1986 world championship. "Power hitters -- it takes a little longer to get their timing."