The afternoon of Derek Jeter’s final All-Star Game started with a ride in the back of a slow-moving pickup truck, waving to the crowds along the red-carpeted streets of Minneapolis as the vehicle rolled toward the players’ entrance of Target Field.
It concluded with the retiring Yankees captain doffing his cap to a standing ovation that lasted nearly three minutes, finishing 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored as the American League’s leadoff hitter before being replaced at shortstop for the fourth inning.
“Any player that says they don’t want to go to an All-Star Game is lying to you,” Jeter said. “It’s something everyone wants to be a part of. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a few of them and I’m happy that I had a chance to do it one last time.”
In February, when Jeter announced his intention to walk away at the conclusion of the season, he thought that it would be great to attend one last Midsummer Classic. Credited with his 14th selection and ninth fan-voted election, the Yankees captain rose to the occasion.
“You know what? He has a flair for the dramatic, as we know,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who piloted the AL squad in its 5-3 victory. “Two base hits and scores the first run; it worked out pretty well.”
Hearing some of the loudest ovations during pregame introductions, Jeter dirtied his uniform diving for Andrew McCutchen’s first-inning infield hit, then walked to the plate as the AL’s leadoff hitter in the home half of the frame.
As Jeter dug into the box, accompanied by a recording of the late Yankee Stadium legend Bob Sheppard, pitcher Adam Wainwright set his glove on top of the mound and stepped back. His hands bare, Wainwright led the rest of the NL squad in applauding.
“I just felt like that was what he deserved,” Wainwright said. “I wasn’t going near it. I’d still be standing there if the crowd kept cheering.”
Jeter tried to urge Wainwright to pick up his glove and start the game, but the Cardinals hurler refused, allowing the fans a few extra moments to cheer.
“I’ll always remember it,” Jeter said. “I have never faced Adam before, I haven’t really talked to him, and he’s one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. For him to do that during tonight’s game, it says a lot about him and how much of a class act he is.”
After a brief conversation with Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, Jeter jumped on Wainwright’s second pitch — a 90-mph cutter — for a double down the right field line, then scored the game’s first run on Mike Trout’s triple.
“He said congrats, and then, ‘What does this guy have? I’ve never faced him,’” Lucroy said. “It’s not like he needed to know. He hit a double right down the line.”
Wainwright later created a stir by saying that he’d intended to give Jeter “a couple pipe shots” down the middle to hit, a remark that he later backed away from.
“I should probably hush up,” Wainwright said. “I completely was trying to throw a strike. I was fine with him putting it in play. I did not think he was going to get a hit.”
The double was Jeter’s first extra-base hit in the All-Star Game since he homered in the 2001 contest at Safeco Field, and Jeter defused the controversy with a splash of humor.
“If he grooved it, thank you,” Jeter said. “You still have to hit it. I appreciate it, if that’s what he did.”
Jeter’s second at-bat came in the third inning against the Reds’ Alfredo Simon, working the count full before dunking a 3-2 pitch into right field for a soft opposite-field single, advancing to second base on a wild pitch before being stranded there.
“I tried to get him out, but if he got a base hit, it’s no big deal,” Simon said. “It’s the All-Star Game. I’m happy for him.”
Farrell had planned to have Jeter take two at-bats and then replace him defensively in the fourth, something that Farrell said he conferred with Joe Torre about over the last week.
Former teammate Robinson Cano brought Jeter’s glove and cap out to the field, and Jeter went through the motions of pre-inning tosses to first base until Farrell sent Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox out to take over.
“I wasn’t expecting it, but the manager came up to me and asked me to go into the game in the fourth inning,” Ramirez said. “It’s such a great honor to have that moment with an a legend of American baseball. I’m really proud to have had that moment.”
The strains of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” began to play over the PA system, and during an ovation of more than three minutes, Jeter tipped his cap numerous times — a uniform piece he’d later donate to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“I thought it was great. I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Jeter said. “My back was turned and I heard Cano yelling, but usually when he yells I ignore him. Then I saw Ramirez coming out. It was a wonderful moment that I’m always going to remember. I appreciate John doing that for me.”
“When you’ve witnessed a guy have such a great career, there’s a moment of celebration, but I think we as fans know that every career can’t go on to infinity,” Farrell said. “There’s a point and time where things start to close out. He’s able to do things in such a class way that tonight was another example of that.”
With a TV cameraman capturing his movements for the home audience, Jeter hugged every person wearing an AL uniform, then took one final curtain call and watched the remainder of the game from the top step of the dugout.
“It makes me feel good. The All-Star Game is about everyone that’s here, not one particular person,” Jeter said. “I’ve always been uncomfortable, so to speak, when the focus is on me. I felt as though the focus should be on everyone that’s in this game.
“For the players to do what they did, you play this game and try to have respect for the game, for the players – both your teammates and your opponents – and for them to do that, that would be much better than if there was something that was scripted.”
Jeter finished his All-Star career with a .481 (13-for-27) batting average, which ranks fifth all time among players with at least 10 at-bats. At age 40, Jeter became the oldest player to have two or more hits in an All-Star Game. The previous oldest was Carl Yastrzemski, who was 39 when he had a pair of singles in the 1979 All-Star Game.
“You’ve got to be blessed,” Cano said. “Not everyone gets that kind of ovation. Seeing it, I played with him a long time, and I know what kind of person he is and what kind of player he is. He deserves it and I’m happy for him.”
Lauded on Tuesday by Commissioner Bud Selig as “the face of baseball,” Jeter said that he has appreciated everything in his career to this point. Nike aired a tribute commercial before Jeter’s first at-bat, with many celebrities and sports luminaries offering Jeter a literal tip of the cap.
“I’ll try not to mess it up over the next couple months,” Jeter said, with a smile.
The lights may be dark on Jeter’s All-Star career, but there are even more important games that Jeter wants to participate in. He will be back on the field with the Yankees on Friday in the Bronx, where he hopes they can begin a second-half surge toward October baseball.
“Even today, you try to enjoy it because it’s your last All-Star Game, but we have another game in two days,” Jeter said. “It’s kind of hard to juggle the two. I’m going to enjoy it, savor it, but the season still continues.”
You can sense a shift in the excitement level when Derek Jeter approaches, walking up the tunnel to the dugout, spikes clacking on concrete. The photographers begin throwing elbows and jockeying for position, reporters ready their microphones, and even some of the players seem to jerk their heads around and pay closer attention.
It’s still the American League and the National League, playing for home field advantage in the World Series, which is a big deal. Yet this sure feels a lot like a midsummer celebration that is going to revolve around Jeter, something that he still doesn’t seem sure about. To Jeter, they’ve all been special.
“I’ve always enjoyed All-Star Games,” Jeter said. “This is a game that I truly have always looked forward to. I’ve appreciated the time that I’ve had here. It’s kind of difficult to say I’ll try to enjoy it more because I don’t know how much more I can enjoy it.”
The media crush around Jeter’s table this afternoon made Dellin Betances shake his head and laugh. A first-time All-Star, this is all new to Betances, but even someone in their first hours on the floor can tell that there’s a different energy here.
“Oh man. Watching him in his last year, this is amazing,” Betances said, with a laugh. “I’m honored to be here. It’s a great experience getting to meet these guys and know them a little bit. For me, just being here with Jeet’s last year, I’m honored to be here.”
This Midsummer Classic, marking Jeter’s 14th All-Star selection and his ninth fan-elected start, figures to be different than those that preceded it. Jeter will be in the spotlight from the first pitch on, with Red Sox manager John Farrell slotting Jeter to lead off for the American League.
“It’s a rare and unique opportunity,” Farrell said. “At the same time, we are able to celebrate a player who is not only a champion, but a guy that sets the bar that I think all players should aspire to.”
Here are some assorted reactions from All-Stars in both leagues about Jeter’s final trip to the Midsummer Classic:
Mike Trout, Angels: “I would just turn on the TV and knew he was the best player. Just the way he carried himself; he isn’t out there talking smack, he’s just letting the championships speak for him.”
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: “It’ll be neat. Jeter’s been my role model, watching him as a kid, competing against him, seeing him from a young player, to now an older player playing in his last All-Star game, it’s going to be an honor. It’s something I’ll always remember, taking the field and playing against him.”
Johnny Cueto, Reds: “It’s amazing actually seeing him right now. I think he can still play. He wants to go home and be with his family. He deserves to retire. I think he’s one of the greats of all time.”
Victor Martinez, Tigers: “You know what, I think I’m going to cross the line a little bit, but I think Major League Baseball needs to do something with those kind of players like him. They don’t come around often, and he should go to the Hall of Fame as soon as the season’s over. I have a great amount of respect. He’s a guy I always looked up to. He plays the game the right way.”
Todd Frazier, Reds, on standing next to Jeter as a 12-year-old in 1998: “I’m just looking around like a kid in a candy store. I talked to him three years ago. We worked out together in Florida for a little bit. I said, ‘Do you remember that?’ He started laughing. He said ‘Holy cow, don’t tell anybody.’ That’s just the way he is. He’s a happy-go-lucky guy and I can’t wait to see his final All-Star game playing against him.”
Terry Francona, Indians manager: “That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most the next couple of days, to see how he is received. He embodies so much about what is good about game. To be able to watch him in person, I’m really looking forward to that. It’s kind of an honor to compete against him and his team because of the way he goes about things.”
Jon Lester, Red Sox: “It will be pretty cool. I don’t want to age him too much but watching him grow up, obviously the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry and having to deal with him all the time … I’m just glad he’s finally done so I don’t have to face him anymore. It will be a cool experience to be a part of this and he deserves everything that he gets and hopefully he won’t get hounded too much and he can actually enjoy it and have fun and really take away some memories from this for him.”
Max Scherzer, Tigers: “It’s going to be awesome. Last year I got the experience of being here with Mariano for his last All-Star Game, and that was an unbelievable experience. The All-Star Game is already cool enough, but to have a legend go out just made it even better. When that happens on Tuesday with Jeter, what he’s meant to this game is only going to make it that much more special for everybody involved – fans, players, everybody. We’ll always remember this.”
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: “He’s kind of been the face of the game for the past 18 or 20 years. It’s always good when you have a guy like that; LeBron in the NBA, we had Brett Favre, now there’s Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers (in the NFL). To have a guy like Jeter, he embodies all that baseball is. He’s a winner, he’s a great player. I can’t have any more respect for a guy. We’re going to miss him and it’s exciting to be here for his last All-Star Game.”
Robinson Cano, Mariners: “I can’t wait for that. He’s a guy I love. The way he was with me when I was in New York, he was a great teammate; one of the best, maybe the best ever that I’ve had. I can’t wait to be able to spend time with him today.”
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: “It’s going to be great. I had the chance to do it last year with Mariano. It’s going to be a great experience. I look forward to today and tomorrow to talk to him, try to steal something from him so I can be a better baseball player.”
Ron Gardenhire, Twins manager: “He’s one of these guys who is what baseball is all about. He’s the probably the most professional guy. He’s in the community and has always handled himself really well. And also, he’s a winner. He’s brought championships to that baseball team over there and the whole package. He’s just a guy who makes everyone around him feel good. That’s what leaders do. We’ve had guys like that like Puckett. They always make everybody feel good around you.”
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: “It will be very special, his last one is going to be awesome. Hopefully there is something dedicated to him and acknowledging him. I was able to play against him in Panama and see that whole atmosphere and just the respect. It’s unmatched. It will be cool to be on the same field again and be a part of it.”
Tyler Clippard, Nationals: “I was in the Minor Leagues at the complex there in Tampa, and as a young kid, probably about 18 or 19 years old — watching him walk around, very much in awe just because it’s Derek Jeter. I think I asked him for his autograph and he was very cordial, very nice about it. It made me feel like I was part of the team, even though I was just a Minor League kid.”
Henderson Alvarez, Marlins: “The fact that I get to be on the same field as Derek Jeter who is here for his last is something that makes me overjoyed, something that is important to me. I just anticipate enjoying it and soaking it all in.”
Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays: “It’s been cool. He’s owned me over his career, so I’m not too sad to see him go and get out of the game because it’s a hard at-bat. Obviously what he has done for baseball over the course of his career, he’s the top guy in Major League Baseball on and off the field. So it’s going to be sad to see him go.”
Masahiro Tanaka has decided not to attend the July 15 All-Star Game at Target Field, the Yankees announced on Saturday.
Tanaka is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a small tear in his right ulnar collateral ligament, and is scheduled to begin a rehab program that the Yankees hope can get him back on a Major League mound in six weeks.
Manager Joe Girardi said that Tanaka, who issued a statement on Friday apologizing to the Yankees and their fans for the injury, would prefer to skip the trip to Minneapolis and focus on his rehabilitation.
“I think it’s really unfortunate, because he had a great first half and he’s not able to be a part of it,” Girardi said. “But for some reason, I think he’s going to get a chance to be a part of another one.”
Tanaka, 25, was selected as an American League All-Star after going 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 18 starts. Following the injury, Red Sox manager John Farrell replaced Tanaka on the AL squad with Boston reliever Koji Uehara.
Jeff Francis has appeared in 238 Major League games with four different clubs, but the left-hander has never had an opportunity to pitch in Yankee Stadium, something that the 10-year big league vet is looking forward to.
“It’s probably been said a hundred times over, but that’s a building with a lot of history, even though it’s new,” Francis said. “The team has a lot of history, so it’s something that I’m looking forward to.”
The present, and not the organization’s history, was on the Yankees’ mind when they acquired Francis along with cash considerations from the Athletics on Friday in exchange for a player to be named later.
The Yankees could use help soaking up innings out of the bullpen, where Adam Warren described the squad as “not fresh, obviously, but I wouldn’t say we’re going out there pitching injured.”
Francis had been working as a long reliever with Oakland, where he was 0-1 with a 6.08 ERA in nine appearances. He started the year with the Reds, where he made one start.
“Right now he’s probably a two-inning guy and another left-hander,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Maybe he gets stretched out during some games for us. That’s not really what you want, but maybe it happens. It’s just another guy that can give you multiple innings.”
To create room for Francis on the active roster, the Yankees designated right-hander Matt Daley for assignment. Daley was called up on Friday when the Yankees designated right-hander Jim Miller for assignment.
Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda is inching back toward game action. Pineda threw a 25-pitch bullpen on Friday at the club’s complex in Tampa, Fla., and reported no issues. His best-case scenario is a big league return in mid-August.
Brian Roberts spent 13 summers in Baltimore, draped in orange and black, and this weekend marks his first trip back to Oriole Park at Camden Yards since signing with the Yankees. The surroundings are intimately familiar, yet as he surveyed the visiting clubhouse, it also felt strange.
“It’s crazy,” Roberts said. “I don’t know if I walked in here one time in my career. It’s definitely strange to walk by the home clubhouse and come over here, but it’s kind of a new chapter of life. I’m certainly excited to be back; spent the night in my house. It’s good to sleep in your own bed sometimes.”
Roberts said that he has not given much thought to how he’ll be received by Orioles fans, though both Buck Showalter and Joe Girardi said that Roberts deserves to hear a good ovation after contributing to so many Baltimore clubs over his career.
“I’m excited to get back on the field. Certainly my favorite stadium to play in,” Roberts said. “The fans were always great to me and the city was always great to me and my family. I’m not overly concerned with it. You never want to get booed, but at the same time, they’re pulling for their team and I understand that. I don’t expect them to be cheering me on all night.”
The Yankees acquired left-hander Jeff Francis, along with cash considerations, on Friday from the Athletics in exchange for a player to be named later.
One night after he surrendered five runs in 1 2/3 innings to the Indians, New York designated right-hander Jim Miller for assignment. They recalled right-hander Matt Daley from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The 33-year-old Francis was designated for assignment by the A’s after posting a 6.08 ERA over 13 1/3 innings in nine relief appearances. Francis is expected to join the Yankees on Saturday in Baltimore.
“Obviously he’s a guy that was stretched out, but he is not now,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s a guy that’s probably in the 30 to 40 pitch range right now. We’ll talk to him when he gets here and see what he’s been doing the past few days.”
Francis started the year with the Reds, starting one game — giving up three runs on five hits in five innings — before Oakland claimed him off waivers. He has a career record of 70-80 with a 4.95 ERA, and could be used to help out on Sunday in a start that was originally assigned to Masahiro Tanaka.
“I really haven’t seen him pitch a lot,” Girardi said. “I’ll get to know him as soon as he gets here.”
Seeking additional opinions on his injured right knee, Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia has cancelled his appointment with Dr. James Andrews and will be seen by two other orthopedic specialists, the team announced on Friday.
Sabathia had been scheduled to see Andrews on Monday. Instead, he has lined up appointments with Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister.
It has been suggested that Sabathia may need microfracture surgery in his right knee, which has been said to have significant cartilage damage. Sabathia again experienced inflammation after his second Minor League rehab start, and the Yankees are not sure if he will be able to return this season.
Derek Jeter is scheduled to play in all three games against the Orioles at Camden Yards this weekend, manager Joe Girardi said. Jeter went 2-for-4 in Thursday’s 9-3 loss to the Indians, registering the 1,000th multi-hit game of his career. Jeter is the sixth player in Major League history to do so, joining Ty Cobb (1,293), Pete Rose (1,225), Tris Speaker (1,059), Stan Musial (1,059) and Henry Aaron (1,046).
JULY 11, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATEMENT FROM YANKEES RIGHT-HANDED PITCHER MASAHIRO TANAKA
“As recently announced from the team, I will be going through some treatment and rehab on my injured elbow over the next several weeks. I give everything I have every time I take the ball. With that, I also know that there will always be a risk of injury when playing this game that I love. Right now I feel that the most important thing for me is to keep my head up, remain focused on the task at hand and devote all my energy into healing the injury in order to come back strong.
“I want to apologize to the Yankees organization, my teammates and our fans for not being able to help during this time. I accept this injury as a challenge, but I promise to do everything I can to overcome this setback and return to the mound as soon as possible.”