No, your eyes did not decieve you. You did not take too much alergy medicine, and you were not watching a Yankee Classic. Derek Jeter, that washed up 37 year old shortstop still got game. Jeter picked up four hits as the Yankees tromped the Rangers in Arlington.
Much maligned thus far this sesaon for his infield singles and lack of ability to lift the ball of the ground, Jeter proved some haters wrong when he bombed two homers. Jeter’s first homer of the day was his first since August 25th, 259 at bats ago.
Jeter raised his batting average to .276 Sunday afternoon, third best of all Yankee starters behind only Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson.
Jeter comes off the worst statistical season of his career in which he hit just .270, dipping 64 points from his 2009 average of .334 (second highest of his career.) Expectations coming into this season rose as Jeter and the Yankees agreed to a 3 year 51 million dollar extension, that will take him through the age of 40.
Hitting coach Kevin Long was hesitant to make changes in Jeters swing, but finally stepped in to work with him in September after months of pressing from Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Long worked with Jeter at the end of the season on cutting down his stride and starting his hands lower, hoping to increase his bat speed.
The Yankees Captain hit well towards the end of the season, hitting .400 in the last seven games of the season. Jeter continued to work on this new swing during the offseason and carried it into this season.
Hitting just .221 until April 23rd, Jeter had Yankee fans wondering whether he would ever return to his old self, or whether last year was indicative of a downward slope in his career, something we should all expect from aging shortstops. Yet, never count Jeter out. When you think he is done, he isnt. Since April 23, Jeter has hit .346.