TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A day after announcing this will be his final season, Derek Jeter was back to work at the New York Yankees’ minor league complex.
The Yankees captain arrived just before 9:30 a.m. Thursday and was applauded by approximately 50 fans who were lined up on the sidewalk outside. He did not stop as he drove in, and he gave a small wave as he walked into the facility.
He stayed at the complex for about 90 minutes, taking batting practice in a cage and throwing on a field. As he left, he rolled down the driver’s window of his gray Mercedes-Benz and gave autographs to about the first dozen fans in line.
Media crowded around the car. Asked whether he felt good about the decision he announced Wednesday, Jeter responded: “I do.”
But he didn’t want to get into an extended discussion. New York opens its big league spring training camp Friday, and position players report next week, when Jeter is likely to hold a news conference to discuss his decision.
“I’ll address it all when we get over there the first day of spring. It’s easier that way,” he said.
Jeter’s announcement, made on his Facebook page, will put even more focus on him this season. He was limited to 17 games last season after breaking an ankle in the 2012 playoffs, and he turns 40 in June.
Catcher Francisco Cervelli was surprised by Wednesday’s announcement.
“With the captain, it’s an experience I’m going to tell all my kids and the people that I know, because I think he’s the greatest player I’ve ever seen in my life,” Cervelli said.
Masahiro Tanaka also was at the complex, wearing a Yankees T-shirt and shorts, and threw a bullpen session of about two dozen pitches. He was presented Tuesday at Yankee Stadium after agreeing last month to a $155 million, seven-year contract.
Jeter joked about having to learn more Japanese to communicate with Tanaka.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Tanaka threw two- and four-seam fastballs, splitters and sliders.
“It was good. He’s still trying to catch up I think with the time change and everything. Just trying to ease him into things,” he said. “We’re going to go slow with it.”
The Japanese star finished up his first throwing session with the team on Wednesday.
Tanaka worked out Wednesday at the minor league part of the Yankees’ spring training complex. Rothschild said Tanaka “looked good” during a long toss session.
Tanaka was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year while leading the Rakuten Golden Eagles to the Japan Series title.
It should be determined in the next couple days when the 25-year-old right-hander will throw off a mound.
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