If you think Derek Jeter is driving the ball in the air more, your eyes are not deceiving you.
Since returning from the DL, not only has Jeter been hitting the ball well, but those hits are reaching the outfield. It was evident when his 3,000th hit was a home run and again Monday when he drove the ball to right-center field against Jason Vargas.
“For me, it’s more how I take pitches,” Jeter said. “I can tell if I’m staying back, taking pitches and swinging at good pitches and I felt as though I’ve been doing that for the last few weeks. I’m happy with where I’m at right now.”
The average amount of pitches seen per game is the same as before and after the injury at 17.5, but there have been six instances above that average, including Sunday when Jeter saw 30 pitches.
Not only does manager Joe Girardi notice it, but he’s noticed it’s coming on all pitches.
“We have seen that,” Girardi said. “I thought that started in Texas, but since he’s come back we’ve seen it even more.”
Since returning July 4 in Cleveland, Jeter is batting .324. Nine of his 23 hits have been for extra bases.
Before injuring his calf running out a ground ball against Cleveland on June 13, Jeter was a .260 hitter facing questions about how long he should be a leadoff hitter.
“I’ve been asked those questions a lot [this season],” Girardi said. “A month ago, I would have said don’t bet against Derek Jeter.”
Teammates say sometimes a DL stint isn’t so bad.
“Sometimes, a little DL stint is good for you,” Mark Teixeira said “It’s a grind and we work all the time to prepare for a long season so when you do get two weeks off, you come back refreshed.”