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Derek Jeter ditches new swing after 7-for-34 (.206) start

Apr 11, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

derek jeter and kevin long yankees Reuters

Off to a slow start as he tries to bounce back from the worst season of his career, Derek Jeter has already ditched the “new swing” that made so many headlines throughout spring training.

Hitting coach Kevin Long, who worked with Jeter to revamp his approach at the plate, told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com that the 37-year-old shortstop has gone back to “more of what he’s done for his whole career” after initially attempting to decrease his stride.

Long tried to downplay the significance of the switch by saying that Jeter “has had a very successful career and it has worked out well for him.”

However, if the hitting coach truly believed sticking with the old approach was better for Jeter right now, at age 37, he wouldn’t have worked to change things in the first place. Jeter has gone 7-for-34 (.206) with zero homers and five strikeouts through nine games to produce a .535 OPS that is nearly 200 points lower than last year’s career-worst mark, but 34 at-bats are hardly enough to draw any sort of meaningful conclusions no matter how high profile the player. Last year he got off to a great start, hitting .330 in April, only to hit .260 after May 1.

  1. BC - Apr 11, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    He’s finished.

  2. JBerardi - Apr 11, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    But hey, at least he’s still bringing that gold glove defense to the table…

    • baseballstars - Apr 11, 2011 at 2:03 PM

      Yeah, that was a joke. Of course a player isn’t going to make too many errors when their range has decreased by 50%.

      I am glad I didn’t draft Jeter on any of my fantasy teams. I hate that he’s on the team I pull for IRL. Like many superstars, Jeter will be a double-edged sword. He’s helped the Yankees reach tremendous heights and was a great player/employee for years, and now he’ll be plugging up a position both in the field and in the batting order that will end up hurting the Yankees.

  3. yankeesgameday - Apr 11, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    I have been a Jeter apologist for a very long time, but even I am coming to see that he is not going to rebound. Every day that passes he reminds me of Emmitt Smith in his last year as a Dallas Cowboy. Smith had the all time NFL rushing record in his sights and every thing about the team in his final year was constructed to make sure he broke that record while in a Cowboy uniform even though he was a shadow of the player he once was.

    With 3000 hits not very far away for Jeter this feels like the same approach the Yankees are taking with him. Keep in at Short, keep him towards the top of the lineup, and gut this year out so he hits that milestone.

    Unless he drastically turns it around I think we will start to see a platoon at short for the second half of the season once Jeter makes it to 3000.

    I do have one point in his defense though… all this talk about Kevin Long changing his swing… well here are the averages for the entire team this season. SIX players are hitting UNDER .220. and FOUR of them are under .200. Jeter being Jeter is a part of this but I see Kevin Long losing his job before Jeter loses his,

    cano .324
    arod .321
    martin .300
    swisher .219
    jeter .206
    tex .182
    granderson .172
    gardner .167
    posada .138

    • oldnumero7 - Apr 11, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      This is interesting, but to draw conclusions about how players’ seasons will go based on less than 10 games worth of batting average is not particularly useful.

      • jstrizzle - Apr 11, 2011 at 3:56 PM

        Yeah I agree. That is like throwing up Pujol’s numbers to date and calling his career over. However, if you wanna look at Jeter’s numbers from last year and express concern then I will take it as a more valid point. They are called averages for a reason and ups and downs are expected.

  4. king3319 - Apr 11, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Thank you oldnumero7….yes Jeter had a down year last year and yes there’s a new hitting instructor…but it’s only APRIL!!! Good god!!! And BC he ain’t finished there’s been a few years he’s started slow and here comes the he’s finished talk or he’s overated BS. Am I disappointed he’s gotten off to a slow start….yes.. But like I said it’s APRIL, settle down until the end of May if he’s still slumpin then I’ll re visit this conversation

    • paperlions - Apr 11, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      Yeah, normally 10 games is nothing to worry about…but when those 10 games are part of a larger pattern, people react.
      .
      The reason people are drawing conclusions about Jeter (and not other players) based on only a week of games is that the results (and how he looks achieving those results) coincide with expectations based on the last 4 years….2009 is looking like a huge outlier to an otherwise stead decline in offensive production.

  5. bigbbfan - Apr 11, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Last year pitchers with a top fastball of 91mph were routinely blowing it past Jeter. Ditto this year. He has a slow bat and that was part of what the “new swing” was supposed to compensate for. What a waste of salary.

    • banksatdixie - Apr 11, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      You should email Cashman with a solution, you know, since there a lot of better shortstops available to replace a future hall of famer and living legend.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 11, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        JJ Hardy was acquired for peanuts.

      • paperlions - Apr 11, 2011 at 2:09 PM

        There are plenty of players that are HOFers and living legends that can’t play baseball anymore…it happens.

  6. pisano - Apr 11, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Between Jeter and Posada there’s two outs just about everytime they come to bat. Watch how many called third strikes Posada gets this year, but Jeter is at least swinging at third strikes. Both of their bats have slowed down dramatically and no one can help them with that. The Yankees really backed themselves into a corner by resigning Jeter for possibly four years, at least their done with Posada at the end of this season if he isn’t cut before, they may have to eat the rest of his contract. These two are well past their primes and are going to be problems for the team. Sorry, but that’s what it looks like at this point.

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