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DL stint helped Jeter's hitting

Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees

Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees looks at third base while batting in the top of the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Aug. 13, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Derek Jeter said his best stretch of the season has come about for one reason.

"Staying back," he said Tuesday. "When you're hitting, you have to let the ball come to you. If your head moves, you have a lot less time."

Jeter said that was the main reason for his poor first three months of the season and why going on the disabled list in some ways was a positive.

While on the DL, Jeter worked extensively in Tampa with Gary Denbo, his first professional manager with the GCL Yankees.

"It's different when you're trying to make adjustments in the middle of a game as opposed to if you have a few weeks off you can really break things down," said Jeter, who had a double and drove in two runs Tuesday night and is hitting .326 (47-for-144) since returning from the DL July 4.

Joe Girardi's theory has been Jeter relaxed after collecting his 3,000th hit July 9. "I think it was something that really weighed on his mind," Girardi said.

The shortstop doesn't agree.

"After I was in Tampa and had a chance to work on some things, I'd put more stock in that," Jeter said. "I don't put as much stock in right after that [3,000th] hit."

He said his confidence wasn't affected by his slow start this season. "I had confidence things would come back," Jeter said.

Garcia throws

Freddy Garcia threw a full bullpen Tuesday, though he limited his work to fastballs and sliders. The pitcher showed up without a bandage on the right index finger that he cut in a kitchen accident and Girardi figures Garcia could be ready to go "probably on Saturday."

A-Rod impact

Girardi did not specify what the lineup will look like when Alex Rodriguez returns beyond saying there would be some changes. He's already said A-Rod would resume hitting cleanup. With Jeter hitting well and Curtis Granderson putting up MVP-caliber numbers high up in the lineup -- 23 of his 33 homers have come from the second spot -- Brett Gardner figures to be dropped in the order. "When we decide to make a move, we look at everyone and where they're comfortable," Girardi said. "Guys do get comfortable in certain spots, there's no doubt about it."

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