Jeter shrugs off Steinbrenner comments
TAMPA, Fla. (AP)
The Yankees captain was building a large multimillion dollar home in Tampa last year when New York lost to Texas in the AL championship series after fading in the second half of the season and winding up with the AL wild card.
Steinbrenner, the Yankees co-chairman, made the remark Monday in saying his team lacked hunger last year.
''I understand most of it,'' Jeter said before Tuesday's spring training workout. ''The house, I didn't understand. That's a first. That's funny, I think. I'm not moving, so we won't be talking about this again.''
Jeter often smiled and laughed during an 11-minute session with reporters. He pointed out, with a smile, that Steinbrenner used the plural ''mansions'' and that his name was not speciallly mentioned.
The shortstop said no further explanation was needed from the oldest son of George Steinbrenner, the Yankees owner who died last July.
''Hopefully this is the last time we have to discuss last season,'' Jeter said.
Steinbrenner said later Tuesday his comments were not directed at Jeter.
''It was a generalization, a euphemism. A bad choice of a euphemism,'' Steinbrenner said. ''That's all it was.''
Steinbrenner sent a message to Jeter clarifying his remarks.
''Sometimes teams get a little complacent, they celebrate for too long,'' Steinbrenner said. ''It certainly isn't Derek. Derek's got five rings. You don't win five rings by being complacent. So, it was definitely not Derek I was talking about, and it wasn't, obviously, a few other players, either. But in the end we've got to win.''
''He knows I wasn't referring to him,'' Steinbrenner added. ''It's not what I meant. That was never my intention.''
After Steinbrenner's comments Tuesday, Jeter said he never thought the remarks were directed at him.
''I guess I was right,'' he said.
Also Tuesday, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and executive vice president Rob Manfred spoke by telephone with Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and president Randy Levine telling them team officials should not comment publicly on labor matters. In addition to his comments about Jeter on Monday, Hank Steinbrenner - Hal's brother - was critical of baseball's revenue sharing rules.
Jeter hit .270 last year, 44 points below his career average. He also went through offseason contract talks that were played out in public and became snippy at times en route to a $51 million, three-year deal.
Jeter disagrees with Steinbrenner, who said the 2010 team may have been ''riding the wave'' of the World Series title.
''That I didn't see,'' Jeter said. ''I wouldn't say it was a lack of hunger. I just think we didn't play as well, that's why we lost. We got beat by a team that was better than us in that (ALCS) series.''
''Owners can say whatever they want,'' Jeter added. ''They're entitled to their opinions. You don't always, necessarily, agree with their opinion. We can have a difference of opinion.''
Yankees manager Joe Girardi believes Steinbrenner was just venting about how last season ended.
''The same frustration all of us had last year,'' Girardi said. ''I was not happy about the way we played. The players were not happy about the way we played. We didn't play well against Texas for a lot of reasons. We didn't, necessarily, hit. We didn't, necessarily, pitch. That's bad combination.''
Some consider the Yankees to be an underdog in the AL East after Boston added left fielder Carl Crawford and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. It's a position Steinbrenner will not take.
''I'm not going to say that about our players,'' he said. ''That would be insulting our players. All I'm saying is were one of the four or five best teams in baseball. Anyone of those teams could win the World Series.''
Notes: DH Jorge Posada, who could see limited time behind the plate, is scheduled to start catching bullpen sessions on Thursday. He had offseason surgery to repair a small tear in his left knee. ... RHP Bartolo Colon will start Saturday's spring training opener against Philadelphia. Following Colon in the early rotation will be Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia. ... Closer Mariano Rivera, set for his first bullpen session in the next couple days, threw batting practice to his children on a back field after the workout.