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Derek Jeter is already working on hitting mechanics with Kevin Long

Jan 29, 2011, 11:24 AM EDT

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Ben Shpigel of the New York Times has an excellent, must-read piece about Derek Jeter‘s work with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long this week.

Interestingly, Long told Shpigel that Jeter has always has always had a slightly flawed swing, due to the familiar stride that he takes towards the mound with his left leg. Coming off the worst season of his career, Jeter is now willing to make some changes.

“It would have been asinine for me to go in and try to change him before,” Long said. “He’s been so good for so long, what really needed to be done?”

But that stride grew longer and drifted toward the plate, which caused Jeter to lean over. It altered Jeter’s bat path, and his timing suffered.

“Now,” Long said, “he starts to get jammed a little more. Maybe his bat slows down just a hair, but that’s significant. We can say age all we want, but I’m not buying into that. I think if we fix this, that age factor dissipates.”

Long is optimistic that Jeter will find similar results to Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, perhaps the most prominent example of someone who shortened his stride as he got older. Molitor adopted changes and batted .312/.362/.432 over his age 39-41 seasons, retiring with 3,319 hits, ninth all-time.

Sure, there may be some distractions about his Jeter’s contract and the talk of him eventually switching positions, but I’m far more interested to see his new approach at the plate during spring training.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Jan 29, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    If Kevin Long can get the same results with Beep-beep that he did with Curtis Granderson last August it would be a great help.That and lowering him in the batting order.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 29, 2011 at 11:54 AM

      I agree with you. Unfortunately, Jeter is going to bat any lower then 1st or 2nd for at least the next 2 seasons and unless he improves his numbers over 2010 that is going to be a problem.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 29, 2011 at 11:54 AM

        Sorry. “is” in the first line should be “isn’t”.

      • yankeesfanlen - Jan 29, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        Just hate to see Garner batting 9th, stealing for scoring position, then the inevitable DP> Just guessing, but I think Beep-beep was worse in ’09 than ’10.

    • jh0088 - Jan 29, 2011 at 2:09 PM

      why do you call him beep-beep? I try to actually skip reading all of your posts because it’s getting on my nerves. Like if this were a game, i’d have you on ignore so I didn’t have to read it all the time. Maybe I’m too sensitive or something but it’s starting to confusing and bugging me for a while. Use his name: it’s Derek, or it’s Jeter. He’s not the most despicable person on the planet that you can’t be respectful and use his name.

      • yankeesfanlen - Jan 29, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        I apologize. It was actually a term of familiarity, just like other Yankee nicknames I use. From now on I will refer to him as Derek Sanderson Jeter.

      • Glenn - Jan 29, 2011 at 6:58 PM

        That’s Mr Jeter to you. Is it ok if we still call Phil Rizzuto the “Scooter”?

    • jedimaster5x5 - Jan 29, 2011 at 7:31 PM

      Ok, I have to ask. Where does “Beep-Beep” come from? I’ve seen it all over this blog and I have no clue what the origin of the name is. I’m practically dying of curiosity…

      • yankeesfanlen - Jan 30, 2011 at 8:05 AM

        From a variety of puerile sources such as “Power Rangers” (Beep-beep ima jeep) and other sources. The longer version is Beep-beep I’m A Jete, actually a term of endearment for leadership and determination.
        Google it.
        Admittedly, most of my Yankee nicknames are more transparent, some even derogatory, but they know I’m only funnin’.

      • jedimaster5x5 - Jan 30, 2011 at 4:23 PM

        Hey, I don’t have a problem with it. I just wanted to know where it came from. I think it’s hilarious, actually.

  2. paperlions - Jan 29, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    So….why didn’t they try to “fix” this last year? They say his swing has always been “flawed”, trying to intimate that it didn’t change….then they say that his stride lengthened and went toward the plate, stating plainly that it did change….if this problem developed last year, why didn’t they try to fix it then?
    .
    This sounds like spin (or as I prefer to call it, lying).

    • paperlions - Jan 29, 2011 at 1:15 PM

      eh, I didn’t say that very well….I meant that they try to act like Jeter has always had the same “flaw” but that the flaw didn’t matter, the way it is stated is as if it is the same flaw as always…then they turn around and suggest there were subtle changes that affected bat speed and path through the zone….which, of course, is something they could have addressed last year.

  3. baseballstars - Jan 29, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Hopefully this helps him at the plate, because he’s really regressed. He should be batting eighth or ninth, but we all know that won’t happen. I guess as long as he isn’t batting second (he would break the record for GIDPs), that’s better than nothing. He killed many Yankee rallies during the Torre years because the manager refused to take him out of the second spot of the batting order.

  4. jh0088 - Jan 29, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    I’m far more interested to see his new approach at the plate from the number two hole.

  5. Glenn - Jan 29, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    As a Red Sox fan, I hope I’m wrong, but I see Jeter having a big bounce back year this year. He has too much pride and competitiveness not to be busting his butt this off season and it is common for ballplayers (according to Bill James) to have a good year in their age-37 season.

  6. rick1922 - Jan 29, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Jeter will have a great 2011 season no one will work harder to make it happen .

  7. uyf1950 - Jan 29, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    I hope those of you that think Jeter will rebound from a poor 2010 season are correct. I’m just not as convinced as some of you. Oh, I think he will have a slight bump in his numbers I’m just not sure it will be enough to make a significant difference. And as yankeesfanlen said I hate to see Gardner batting at the bottom of the order. He is far more valuable to the Yankees batting in the lead off spot with his speed and base stealing then at the bottom of the order. That’s just my opinion. I would just hope that if Jeter starts to struggle he does what a true team player would do and go to Girardi/Cashman and volunteer to move down in the order.

    • jh0088 - Jan 29, 2011 at 5:00 PM

      I’m hoping that Girardi will be the one to show true leadership and make the decision for them. How hard is it to figure out that Jeter is the perfect #2 hitter for that lineup. With Gardner at #1 Jeter will get to use his entire arsenal for the first time in years:

      Plate discipline (no more swingingin at the first pitch).
      Hit and Run (put Gardner in motion and those DP balls to second make it through to the outfield).
      Hitting for Average (more fastballs deeper in counts will lead to more singles).
      Sacrificing (he’s a great bunter and at #2 he’ll be given even more accolades as a selfless team player).

      There is not a single player in the Yankee lineup who has all of these intangibles that a #2 hitter is supposed to have other than Jeter so putting him in the leadoff position hurts your team’s chances for scoring runs on a daily basis.

      • yankeesfanlen - Jan 29, 2011 at 5:35 PM

        I agree with all your points, but will Girardi have the institutional memory to look past his black book and put them in place should Jeter make the necessary improvements?
        Also, Jeter was #2 for years until a switch to Damon had to be made. What will it take to make Girardi move toward the decision?

  8. Jonny 5 - Jan 31, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    I hope Derek Jeter’s woman leaves him because he sucks at the plate this season even more than last season. She then can move into my spare bedroom. That’s what I hope.

    I see half of my hoping to come true. Just like changing Jeter’s plate approach. They hope his swing will change. They hope to make him better. I’d say half of the plan works, the other half, not so much.

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