Just about all the New York Yankees were ready to be done with spring training, so they welcomed the rainout of Saturday's final Grapefruit League game against the Miami Marlins. Derek Jeter was the notable exception. Jeter wanted to absorb every last bit of his final spring training, but it was cut short by a powerful rainstorm that forced the cancellation of the last game he was to play in his offseason home. While he didn't get a chance to say a final goodbye to the fans at Steinbrenner Field – which opened as Legends Field in 1996, his rookie season – Jeter still accomplished what he set out to do this spring. He batted just .137 with one extra-base hit in 51 at-bats. But after missing most of last season with an assortment of injuries, the 39-year-old shortstop is healthy and ready for the regular season. "I feel good. That's the most important thing,'' Jeter said. "Spring training's a progression, both physically and being game-ready. I'm where I want to be right now.'' Manager Joe Girardi said he didn't notice any caution or problems for Jeter when he ran, as opposed to last spring training, when he was coming off a broken ankle sustained in the playoffs and wasn't fully healed. "It was hard to watch last year because, as much as he said he was ready to go, he really wasn't,'' Girardi said. "So I'm happy with where he's at. I don't make too much of spring training numbers because I've been on both sides of that.'' A video tribute to Jeter's career was played shortly before the game was due to start, and as ominous skies darkened, he participated in a brief ceremony meant to thank him for his contributions to the game and the Tampa area. "I got a key to the city. I live here, so now I can do whatever I want while I'm in Tampa,'' Jeter joked. "I couldn't before, but now I can.'' Ceremonies will become a regular part of Jeter's final season, just as they were for Mariano Rivera last year. The Houston Astros, who host the Yankees beginning Tuesday in both teams' first series of the season, plan a tribute to him Wednesday and have invited former teammates Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Mike Stanton to attend. Jeter downplayed any possible distraction such ceremonies might create, saying they only take a few minutes. The five-time World Series champion will play a key role for a Yankees team coming off its second playoff-less season in 19 years, which prompted the addition of several marquee players in Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Masahiro Tanaka and Brian McCann.
Derek Jeter soaks in final spring training: 'I feel good'
USA Today | Mar 30