Derek Jeter is not comfortable at the plate.
No, this doesn't mean there's reason to panic regarding the swing change he's been, and is, working on. It's just the reality of a player making an alteration after spending a lifetime doing something a certain way.
It’s something he’s trying to change after 16, 17 years of doing it one way,” hitting coach Kevin Long said. “I can tell he’s not comfortable.”
The change, of course, is eliminating Jeter's stride.
“I don’t think it will take long to have success, but it still might take a while before you get comfortable,” said Jeter, who went 1-for-4 Monday against the Tigers and is 1-for-6 this spring. "And the key is not to think about it. Once you stop thinking about it you’re pretty comfortable.”
Long said his goal is for Jeter to reach that point by “about a week before the real games” start.
“Right now there’s going to be some difficulties in feeling comfortable,” Long said. “My job is to get him to feel as good as possible as soon as possible…He’s saying, ‘I have to figure out what to do with this extra time,’ and I said, trust me this is a good thing that you’re seeing the ball longer. In the long run, this is going to help. Again, I feel for him a little bit because he’s fighting through something, he hasn’t done it enough times. So I’m not discouraged. I’m looking forward to getting it right. And we will.”
Jeter is not scheduled to travel Tuesday to Bradenton and Long said he'll stay back to do some extra work with the shortstop.
"Results in spring training I’m not too concerned about,” Long said. “What I’m concerned about is him feeling comfortable and good up at the plate as soon as possible. If we can get to that point, sooner rather than later, then mission accomplished.”