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David Phelps On Current State Of Derek Jeter: He ‘Looks Amazing’

Derek Jeter (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Derek Jeter (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Yankees have signed Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka this winter, and — understandably so — those four guys have gotten most of the headlines this offseason.

But in case you’ve forgotten, the Bronx Bombers still have an iconic shortstop and future Hall of Famer on their roster.

Oh yeah, Derek Jeter.

The 39-year-old is working hard to be strong for Opening Day after a nightmarish, injury-plagued 2013 season. He’s currently working out at the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa, and pitcher David Phelps is very impressed with what he’s seen from the captain.

“Derek looks amazing,” Phelps said. “That’s awesome.”

Earlier this week, the 13-time All-Star took on-field batting practice for the first time since last season and also fielded 34 balls at shortstop.

“You can tell he’s determined to go out there and do well,” Phelps said. “If you had to place a bet on it, you know he’s going to go out there and have a good year. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play again. He’s having a lot of fun right now.”

Jeter couldn’t stay healthy in 2013, playing in just 17 games for New York. He broke his left ankle in April before returning to the club in July. He returned to the disabled list after feeling pain in his right quadriceps and then strained his calf later that month.

He came back in late August, but his season ended prematurely on September 7.

The five-time World Series champion batted .190 (12-for-63) with a homer and seven RBIs.

“He’s got his foundation under him again,” Phelps said of Jeter. “It’s great to see. Our team, he’s been the backbone for so long. He’s the only one of the Core Four left going and he means a lot to this organization. We do a lot better when he’s in our lineup. You look in the past, this team’s usually only as strong as he is. It’s going to be nice having him back there behind us.”

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