This week's coverage of Alex Rodriguez's tweet -- a thoroughly benign remark about his readiness to play -- has come to resemble performance art of unknown origins. Somehow, he's again the bad guy because he has the gall to be nearing a possible return and because the Daily News saw within the Rorshach a conspiracy of unspeakable malice. I don't even know anymore.

What I do know is that it was inevitable that a prominent Yankee would be asked whether A-Rod, in his dominating absence, was somehow a distraction. That prominent Yankee turned out to be Derek Jeter, who was in Florida working out with A-Rod and his pitch-black soul and heart. His response, courtesy of

"Why would he be a distraction? You guys [in the media] may be a distraction to him if you ask him questions, but I've never seen how someone can be a distraction to a team, you know what I mean? Because we don't have to deal with it.

"As far as [reporters] being a distraction to him, I'm sure he probably gets tired of answering questions. There's no way he can be a distraction to us."