TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Yankees captain Derek Jeter plans to enjoy his upcoming trip to 3,000 career hits.
The shortstop is 74 hits from the milestone entering the 2011 season.
“It’s going to be a party the whole year,” Jeter joked on Sunday. “I’ve always been one that tries to shy away from anything that’s personal and not talk about it much. Couldn’t wait for it to be over with because I really didn’t like the focus to be on me. Now, I think, it’s going to be more of enjoying every day.”
The 36-year-old is the Yankees’ all-time hits leader.
“It’s something that’s very hard to do,” Jeter of getting 3,000 hits. “Not too many people have done it. Even though it’s not a Yankees’ record, it’s still a Yankee uniform.”
Jeter had an off season in 2010, hitting .270, which was well below his career average of .314.
“I’m motivated coming into every season,” Jeter said. “I understand what my job is. My job is to come and play shortstop and try to help this team win. That’s never changed over 15 years, and it’s not going to change now.”
Jeter doesn’t feel like he was disrespected this winter after negotiations with the Yankees became public and a little snippy en route a $51 million, three-year deal.
“From Day 1, the ultimate goal was to be here,” Jeter said. “I’m here and I’m happy about it.”
Jeter, who starts his onfield drills in January, admits the offseason workouts get tougher each year.
“When you’re younger, I don’t think you have to do as much,” Jeter said. “You get older, you need to take less time off. It’s easier to stay in shape than get back into shape.”
AL East rival Boston made offseason improvements — including the additions of outfielder Carl Crawford and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez — that Jeter believes were as good as any team in baseball.
“I would assume they are one of the favorites,” Jeter said. “I don’t know if anyone, really, picks one favorite. Boston is up there with every team in the game. Last year they had a great team, but had a lot of injuries. We understand how difficult it is to play them. We look forward to playing them.”
Notes: 2B Robinson Cano was in camp after missing Saturday’s physicals because he got the reporting day date mixed up. Cano first become beware of the situation when he got a call in New York from the Yankees asking where he was. He has apologized to team officials.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)