Derek Jeter was bemused when a swarm of reporters headed towards his locker almost instantly after he arrived in the clubhouse on Friday afternoon.
Jeter was responding to questions about his interview with ESPN writer Rick Reilly. During the interview, which ran on ESPN’s website Thursday, Jeter was asked about Peyton Manning changing teams after the Colts decided they did not want him.
“Well if I wanted to keep playing, yes,” Jeter told Reilly. “It’s a business. People forget that.”
That response created so much buzz the New York Daily News placed him on the front page.
“I was asked about Peyton Manning going from Indianapolis to Denver,” Jeter said. “The question was in reference to if the organization doesn’t want you around anymore, do you still want to play? You have no choice but to go to another team, I think is common sense.”
During the nearly three and a half minute interview, Jeter seemed annoyed that he even had to address this topic especially since he has often stated that he wants to remain a Yankee and his level of annoyance increased when the contentious 2010 contract negotiations were brought up.
“Why are we bringing that up? I told you I’m not talking about that again, either,” Jeter said. “We’ve been down this road before, I’ve told you time and time again and nothing has changed. It’s really not a big deal. Have fun with it as much as you’d like. ... I don’t know why we’re talking about it, really.”
Jeter took a 14-game hitting streak into last night’s game and is hitting .397 during the second-longest streak of the season. He started at designated hitter last night after playing two games at shortstop.
“It’s not 100 percent,” manager Joe Girardi said of Jeter’s ankle. “And you could say, well why don’t you give him a week off? But I’m not so sure it’d be 100 percent if you gave him a week off. He said he feels better, but as I said, it’s not 100 percent. I know that and he knows that. He’ll never admit that, so you have to pick your times to do it.”
Cabrera not eligible for batting title
At his request, suspended Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera had his name disqualified from the National League batting race.
According to Rule 10.22 (A) 502 plate appearances are needed though exceptions can be made if the batting average remained the highest after adding the number of hitless at-bats required to reach the minimum total of plate appearances.
At the time of his 50-game suspension last month for using performance-enhancing drugs, Cabrera led the league with a .346 average with 501 plate appearances.
“After giving this matter the consideration it deserves, I have decided that Major League Baseball will comply with Mr. Cabrera’s request,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “I respect his gesture as a sign of his regret and his desire to move forward, and I believe that, under these circumstances, the outcome is appropriate, particularly for Mr. Cabrera’s peers who are contending for the batting crown.”
“Melky Cabrera, through a written request to me, asked for the Union’s assistance in removing him from consideration for the 2012 National League batting title,” said MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner. “We complied with Melky’s wish and brought the matter to the Commissioner's Office, which agreed to suspend the rule. We commend Melky's decision under these circumstances."
With Cabrera disqualified, the race is now between Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen and San Francisco catcher Buster Posey. McCutchen leads with a .339 average, but Posey has batted .392 since the All-Star break to inch within four points of the lead.
» Girardi confirmed that Andy Pettitte will see his pitch count increased to 85 or 90 pitches Monday night in Minnesota.
» New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck attended the game a night after making two tackles in Thursday’s 36-7 rout of the Panthers. Tuck led the roll call in the right-field bleachers and watched batting practice in a size 56 Mariano Rivera jersey.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.