Steinbrenner confident Jeter will return to form
Despite having some concerns, club feels captain will be OK next season
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said that while there are concerns about Derek Jeter's ability to reclaim the shortstop position, the club believes that the captain can return to his pre-injury form.
"Given his age and given the severity of the injury, I think we all have concerns," Steinbrenner said of Jeter, who will turn 40 in June. "But if anybody is going to succeed, it's going to be Derek. Nobody is tougher and nobody is going to work harder to get back.
"But given his age and given what the injury was -- it's not a Grade 1 quad strain, this is a fairly serious injury -- are there concerns? Yes. But we're also confident he's going to come back and be the player he was a couple years ago."
Jeter was limited to 17 games last season due to a chain reaction of events stemming from his fractured left ankle in Game 1 of the 2012 American League Championship Series against the Tigers, an injury that required surgery.
Jeter suffered another fracture of the ankle in Spring Training, and he also suffered quadriceps and calf injuries before the Yankees placed him on the disabled list for a fourth time in September, ending his season. Jeter batted .190 (12-for-63) with one home run and seven RBIs, playing 13 games at shortstop.
Jeter and the Yankees agreed on a one-year, $12 million contract earlier this month, representing a pay cut from the $17 million he earned in each of the past three seasons. Jeter had held a $9.5 million player option for next season.
"Given what Derek has meant to the organization and means to the organization, all I'm going to say is both sides needed to be comfortable with a number," Steinbrenner said. "We needed to come up with a number that both sides thought was fair. That's what we did."
Steinbrenner said that during the course of the club's negotiations with Jeter's agent, Casey Close, Jeter's plans beyond the 2014 season were not discussed.
"We really didn't," Steinbrenner said. "I don't know that Derek has thought that far. He has a lot of thinking to do just getting to March, and I think that's his focus right now."