Derek Jeter was all smiles after Sunday’s 9-3 win over Toronto – that is, until the topic of conversation turned to his five RBI performance following yesterday’s off day.
That’s when the Captain got a little testy.
When informed by a reporter that’s he hitting over .370 after a day off*, the Yankees shortstop quickly shot down the statistic as meaningless.
“I’ve probably gotten some hits on back-to-back days too so I don’t pay much attention to it,” said Jeter, who tied a career high with five RBIs and snapped a 136 at-bat homerless streak with a three-run jack in the third. “How many days have I had off? In that stat, how many days have I had off? I’m sure I’ve gotten hits when I’ve played back-to-back too, so I think it’s a coincidence.”
Jeter is 7-for-20 (.350) with one homer and seven RBI after his last five regularly scheduled (non injury-related) days off. But when pressed about the issue – and whether he feels “refreshed” following a rest day – the shortstop got downright snippy.
“Let’s not start this day-off/refreshed thing because I’ve been swinging the bat since I’ve come back from being hurt,” said Jeter, who entered Sunday’s game hitting .345 (70-for-203) since coming off the disabled list July 4. “I’m pretty sure that during the course of that I’ve gotten some hits and two hits and three hits, three days in a row, four days in a row, five days in a row. So let’s not start this story.”
Though somewhat annoyed by the line of questioning, the affable shortstop couldn’t resist making a joke when asked this question:
'Since coming back from DL, what do you attribute ur consistency to?''
Without missing a beat, Jeter said: “Days off.”
When the laughter finally died down, he answered honestly.
“Staying back, that’s basically it,” he said. “It’s a little more complicated than how it sounds to do, but I’ve been staying back a lot better and that’s probably the simplest form I can give.”
Jeter initially tried to deny that he's having more fun at the ballpark now that his batting average is a respectable .298. But after a few minutes he admitted “It’s a lot more fun when you’re contributing.”
“That’s the goal but you’re not always going to be swinging the bat like you’d like to,” he continued. “Sometimes it’s going to be difficult and you have to find your way out of it. So, yeah, it’s obviously a lot more fun when you’re playing well. But we’ve been playing well for quite some time.”
(*Note: According to Elias, Jeter's hitting .351 in 23 games following an off day (including his first day back from the DL and days after the Yankees don't play.)