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Joe Girardi: Derek Jeter is a winner on and off the field

Yankees captain Derek Jeter announced in February that 2014 would be his final season in baseball. Newsday traveled to Camden Yards in Baltimore, Fenway Park in Boston, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium to tell the story of what Jeter meant to Major League Baseball, its players and fans during his 20 seasons. (Credit: Newsday)

Derek Jeter Night doesn’t take place until Sunday but, unsurprisingly, the shortstop’s name came up during Joe Girardi’s pregame news conference on Thursday.

As it likely will on Friday, Saturday and, of course, Sunday when the Yankees officially retire his No. 2 uniform number and unveil his plaque in Monument Park.

“To me, the easiest way to define Derek Jeter is, he’s a winner,” said Girardi, who played with and later managed Jeter. “Plain and simple, whether on the field or off the field.”

What always stood out to Girardi was Jeter’s approach, even as a young player.

“How relaxed he played all the time,” Girardi said. “There was no situation that was too big for him.”

Bird evaluated

Greg Bird, who has not done any baseball activities since being put on the disabled list May 2, was evaluated by team physician, Dr. Christopher Ahmad before the game. Thursday marked the 10th day of Bird’s DL stint so, if he gets the go-ahead from Ahmad, he could resume activities in a day or so.

Gallegos called up

The Yankees recalled righthander Giovanny Gallegos from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 25-year-old, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2011 who put himself on the radar last season when he posted a 1.27 ERA between Double-A Trenton and Scranton, had a 3.86 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 10 games this season. Gallegos, whose parents flew in from Mexico Thursday afternoon, struck out 26 and walked six.

Asked and answered

It’s been a few series running that Girardi has been asked a form of the same question:

Does he believe his club, one of the surprising early-season stories in the sport, is for real?

He got it again Thursday, plus this one: how do you get your players to continue to believe it?

“Don’t worry,” Girardi said. “They believe it. It’s simple . . . our guys believe and they should believe. They’re very talented.”

Never too soon . . .

The Braves, Royals and Marlins, three teams likely to be in sell-mode at the trade deadline, were among the clubs who had scouts at the Stadium Thursday night.


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