Jeter 'feeling great' in precamp workouts
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees announced on Friday that Derek Jeter will discuss his decision to retire after the 2014 season on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, Jeter continued his precamp workouts on Friday at the club's Minor League complex alongside a new arrival: second baseman Brian Roberts.
Jeter went through his usual routine, taking batting practice and fielding ground balls at shortstop, with Roberts at second base and Kelly Johnson on hand to work out at third. Jeter and Roberts played together during the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and the captain said it was nice to work with Roberts again.
Jeter said he is "feeling great" and has no concerns about his health or his left ankle heading into the season. But he declined to talk about his retirement, repeating several times that he'll do so on Wednesday.
Across Dale Mabry Highway at George M. Steinbrenner Field, several Yankees reacted to the news that Jeter's 20th season in the Majors will be his last. CC Sabathia and David Robertson weren't surprised considering Jeter's injury-plagued 2013 campaign, but Robertson didn't think Jeter would announce it so far ahead of time.
"I'm really glad he's going to make sure to give the fans a chance to come out this year and see him in his final season," Robertson said. "It's kind of hard to put into words what it means to take the field with Derek. There's been so many other great players here, too, but Derek's been ... He's the Yankee captain, the face of this franchise."
"Saddened, I guess, that he's not going to be around," Sabathia added. "You want a guy like that to play forever, but what he's done for the game and this organization, he's one of the best players, a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I'm just happy I got a chance to play with him."
Whereas many of the current Yankees went through a similar farewell tour last season for Mariano Rivera, new catcher Brian McCann was with the Braves for Chipper Jones' last season in Atlanta, in 2012. McCann would have liked to play with Jeter for more than just one year but is excited to be along for the ride.
"The guy's done everything in the game of baseball that you could possibly do. He's been the face of baseball since he broke in. He's won five championships," McCann said. "It's a great experience. I went through it with one Hall of Famer, and I'm going to go through it with another."