POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 15, 2011
NEW YORK » Derek Jeter is tired of all the scrutiny of his swing.
"I'm happy when I'm not talking about it," the Yankees captain said before getting two hits Wednesday night in a win over Baltimore.
Stride. No stride. Toe tap. Heel lift. Jeter's famous stroke has been one the most analyzed aspects of the young season, and he's not even off to the worst start in baseball.
Albert Pujols, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Vernon Wells and Adrian Beltre are just a few of the stars around the big leagues trying to find their rhythm at the plate.
And get this, five regulars in New York's lineup have averages lower than Jeter's .233 after 11 games.
Yet little is made of their troubles.
None of those players, though, is a five-time World Series champion nearing his 3,000th hit and two months shy of his 37th birthday, when many players' skills are in decline.
"I don't think Derek wants to talk about it anymore just because A: Derek doesn't like talking about himself. He'd prefer to talk about the team," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "and B: He'd prefer to go to work. He wants to work."
And work he has.
Jeter began adjusting his swing during a session in mid-September in Texas, when he was in a prolonged slump. He has been working with hitting coach Kevin Long ever since to find a comfort zone at the plate.
Girardi is not worried. At least not yet.
"I think sometimes people want to evaluate quickly just because of who he is and what he went through a little bit last year and you look at his age," Girardi said. "We don't do that because we know it's a long season and there's a lot of guys that get off to a slow start and have very good years."
Jeter has been a fixture at the top of the lineup since he was Rookie of the Year in 1996, but critics have been questioning whether the Yankees would be better off with him lower in the order.
Girardi said he wouldn't make any judgments until he has a better sample of at-bats, somewhere between 100 and 150. So any change might not come until mid-May.