Looking and sounding relaxed but also declaring himself "eager" to start 2011, Derek Jeter stopped by to talk to a small group -- OK, three -- of reporters after hitting and taking some grounders this morning at the Yankees' minor league complex. He discussed a variety of topics, including his thoughts on if there was still any lingering anger on his part regarding the tenor of the negotiations that eventually produced his new three-year deal.
“It’s over," he said. "It’s done with. You can’t change the past.”
While Jeter struggled most of last season, he did finish strong. Jeter and hitting coach Long started working in late August on Jeter’s stride, work that continued two weeks ago.
“Basically what we did is we were just picking up where we left off the last month of last season,” Jeter said. “The changes that we made at the end of August, usually you don’t make those changes in the middle of the season…because it takes a long time to get comfortable with it. So we were just trying to continue that.”
As for the still-hot topic of how long Jeter will stay at shortstop, it’s not something he’s worried about.
“I don’t think about it,” he said. “I have a job to do. My job isn’t to try to tell the future. I wish I could but I can’t. I’m not a fortune teller, I don’t have a crystal ball at the house. My job is to do what my job is and that’s to play shortstop.”
Jeter said he wasn't surprised Andy Pettitte made the decision to retire.
"I’m happy for him," Jeter said. "Not only the career he had, but I’m happy that he came to a decision that he’s comfortable with. I know how close Andy is with his family. His family is No. 1 for him. Now he gets that opportunity to watch his kids participate in a lot of things and be around for them. Even when he was playing, any opportunity he had to go back home, he went back home."
As for the Red Sox and their series of headline-making moves, Jeter said he was looking forward to playing them.
"They added some good players," he said. "I’m pretty sure they’re excited about their season over there. Last year they had a lot of injuries. This year I would assume everyone over there is exited to get going, but it’s our job to try and beat them."