Jeter, A-Rod and Francona weigh in on Bobby V.’s comments
Adam Berry here, once again pinch-hitting for Bryan Hoch in Tampa, Fla.
Of all the days for Terry Francona could have shown up at Yankees camp, Wednesday certainly seemed to be the most fitting.
Most of the talk in the clubhouse here was, of course, centered around a few of new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine’s comments about Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, that famous flip play in 2001 and that bench-clearing brawl in 2004. So it was almost a little too fitting that the former Boston skipper was in the house in his new role as an ESPN analyst, taking time to share his thoughts with reporters.
Before we get into all the comments from Tampa, however, consider this from Fort Myers: Valentine told MLB.com colleague Ian Browne he wasn’t trying to malign Jeter because, “I love Jeter.”
Moving on, here’s Rodriguez’s brief statement when asked what he thought about Valentine praised retiring catcher Jason Varitek for his ability to “beat up Alex”:
“Like I said, I’m not going to win many battles here when it comes to words, especially against Bobby. But I will tell you this, I got my new press secretary that should be landing in the next couple days, Reggie Jackson, so I’ll let him handle that. All right? Thanks.”
A-Rod then split through the crowd of reporters gathered around his locker, and that was the end of that.
As for Jeter, here’s some of what he had to say…
On Valentine wondering if the Yankees actually practiced that play. “I mean, we do. You know what I mean? You’ve seen it. You guys have been here.”
(For the record, as I’m sitting here writing this, the Yankees are practicing that very play.)
His thoughts on the comments? “I don’t think anything. I really don’t. I have no thoughts whatsoever. Who cares? Why are we talking about this? They must be bored over there, huh? I don’t understand.”
And a personal favorite, Jeter’s response when asked about the first thing he’ll say to Valentine the next time he sees him: “’Hey, Bobby.’ That’s about it. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, really. A lot of people have said that I wasn’t supposed to be here, and I’ve told you guys from Day 1 that’s where I’m supposed to be. That’s what we work on. He’s not the first person to say that. Since I’ve come up, we’ve done it the same way. We might be doing something like that the next couple days, so I invite all you guys to come out there and see that I’m in the same spot every time.”
And finally, here’s what Francona thought about Valentine’s comments, the play itself and Jeter: “I’m sure some of that’s in jest. I don’t know. I wasn’t there, and I’m out of it. I’m out of it. To me, it’s not important whether the Yankees practice that play or not. The fact of the matter is that he’s good enough to make that play. You could practice that play until you’re blue in the face, and he’s probably still the only guy who makes that play. That play was part of baseball lore. Again, I don’t doubt they do practice it. He’s probably the only guy that makes the play. … He sees the field better than anybody in baseball. He’s the one guy that makes that play.”
Francona spoke about several other topics related to the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, including the marathon games. We’ll have more from Yankees camp later today on MLB.com and Yankees.com.