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Slumping Derek Jeter keeps level head

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter smiles as he answers

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter smiles as he answers a question during a news conference before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Credit: AP / Chris O'Meara

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - -- He's gone through worse, Derek Jeter quickly pointed out.

"I've been 0-for more than I am right now," he said before Monday night's game against the Rays.

Jeter, who received a scheduled day off Monday from Joe Girardi, entered action in a 0-for-24 skid, one of the worst of his career, but not the worst. That came in 2004, when Jeter heard boos from Yankees fans in the midst of a 0-for-32 slide.

"I want the results to be there," said Jeter, 40. "We have 14 games left and I'm going to try and do as well as I can for these 14 games. I'm really not concerned with anything that's happened before this."

As late as Aug. 6, Jeter was hitting a respectable .276 with a .329 on-base percentage. In the 32 games since then, he's hitting .164 with a .199 OBP but still holding on to the second spot in the batting order, as the rest of the lineup also has struggled.

"I'm not sure," Girardi said of his theory for Jeter's difficulties since early August. "Because it's not like he hasn't been through the rigors of a long season before. He's done it. The question that's always going to come up is his age. I can't tell you yes or no, I can't give you an exact answer. For whatever reason, he had a tough August and September has been tougher. It's not the time of year you want it to happen, but it has."

Jeter's not the first future Hall of Famer to limp to the finish line. According to Elias Sports Bureau, since 1972, Al Kaline, Johnny Bench, Bill Mazeroski and Cal Ripken Jr. each had hitless streaks of 25-plus at-bats in their final seasons.

Beltran returns as DH

Carlos Beltran, who missed five games with a sore right elbow before pinch hitting Sunday, started at DH Monday night.

"A little better," Beltran said of the bone spur that has been an issue since May and something he'll have surgically repaired after the season. "It's been tough. I haven't been able to feel good. It's hard dealing with pain every day."

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