New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and teammates sit on...

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and teammates sit on the bench during tghe fourth inning. (Sept. 11, 2010) Credit: AP

ARLINGTON, Texas - It's pretty simple from Derek Jeter's standpoint.

Sitting won't get him out of the slump he's in - and has been in much of the season.

"You don't go in a different direction not playing," Jeter said before last night's game, one in which he didn't start. "Not saying [a day off] is a bad thing, but you don't get hits when you're not in the game."

Not that Jeter's difficulties at the plate - his slump reached 7-for-61 after he went 1-for-7 in Friday night's 13-inning, 6-5 loss - were why Joe Girardi sat the shortstop.

"We just had such a long game last night," Girardi said. "We played [more than] five hours, so I decided to give him a day." He added that Alex Rodriguez likely will get Sunday off.

But most of Girardi's pregame meeting related to Jeter, who is running out of season to turn things around at the plate. He started hot, hitting .330 in April, followed by .281 in May, .243 in June, .245 in July, .239 in August and .167 in eight games this month, leaving his overall average at .260. His on-base percentage for the season is only .326.

"Any time you scuffle, it seems balls you hit good, they catch, balls you don't hit good they catch, balls you don't hit they catch, know what I mean?" Jeter said with a weary smile. "That's just how it goes. Wish I had an explanation for it."

Jeter took a foul ball off his right knee in the eighth Friday but stayed in the game and said "I'm fine" when asked about it before last night's game. Still, he wasn't arguing with the day off. "We've played a lot of games," he said. "Rest can always help."

Jeter, who entered the season with a career .317 average and .388 on-base percentage, isn't worried about getting anywhere near those numbers this year. He's thinking about getting himself right for the time of year he's typically shined - October.

"At this point in the season, you're not going to change where you are," he said. "Now you're just trying to get a good swing going. We've got, what, three weeks left and then postseason, hopefully, so that's what your goal is."

In large part because of Jeter's track record, Girardi said "my confidence in Derek hasn't wavered" despite what has been a three-months-plus slump.

"There's a ton of faith," Girardi said. "I said yesterday, I surely wouldn't bet against him that he's not going to finish up strong and be the Derek Jeter we know he can be. He's going through a funk. It's not abnormal for a hitter to go through a funk. Tex [Mark Teixeira] went through it in April and he went through it in June and people were worried about Tex."

Girardi heard then some of what he's hearing now - that maybe a change in the order should be considered. Then it was moving Teixeira from the third spot; now it's dropping Jeter from leadoff or second.

"It's like Tex; when he was going through his struggles, we believed he was going to hit," Girardi said. "He's at 30 [homers] and 100 [RBIs]. We believe Derek's going to hit. Eventually, he's going to get real hot."

Jeter continues to work with hitting coach Kevin Long, trying to find his stroke.

"You try a lot of different things," Jeter said. "It's just all about a feel. Sometimes you go up there and you just find it. You have to keep searching."

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