Girardi, Yankees adjusting to life without Jeter
Manager calls it 'strange' not to see shortstop on field at spring camp
TAMPA, Fla. -- As the Yankees went through their drills Thursday, Joe Girardi wandered around the lip of the outfield grass, exchanging pleasantries with the infielders. When he reached the shortstop position, he had to remember why Derek Jeter was absent.
"You get used to seeing guys out there on the field, it's a little abnormal when they're not out there," Girardi said. "It was a little strange not seeing Derek out there today. We looked and we were doing the mass infield and he wasn't there. It was kind of strange to me."
Jeter last spring announced that he would make 2014 his final big league season. Though he makes his permanent home just a 20-minute drive from the Yankees' spring complex, his former teammates expect Jeter to take a full year off before visiting the clubhouse.
"We're going to miss him once we get to New York and there's only 25 guys in that locker room," Mark Teixeira said. "I think that's when we're going to miss him the most, is when the season starts and Derek is not on that first flight and on the field with us."
Change is in the air this spring. With Jeter's No. 2 out of circulation and destined for Monument Park, the lowest uniform number on the field is now Brett Gardner's No. 11.
The spring rosters listing each uniform number are required reading -- Girardi remarked that one of the Yanks' prominent hitting groups included four players who weren't with the club last spring: Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley and Garrett Jones.
"In a sense, it's the first day in a new school for a lot of guys, because there are so many new faces," Girardi said.
Jeter's retirement marked the ending of the "Core Four" era, though they're never too far away. Mariano Rivera is in camp as a guest instructor and it has been rumored that Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada plan to swing by this spring.
"I remember saying that Jorgie was kind of the first one; you were used to seeing him every day with the catchers, and then you didn't see him," Girardi said. "It's kind of strange, but it happens. It's life. It's what happens in the game, everyone retires, the game goes on, and it's a little strange in the beginning."