Tuesday, April 08, 2008


The prospect of Alex Rodríguez replacing an ailing Derek Jeter at shortstop, stacks up pretty well as media-nurtured Yankees dramas go.

There's actually a parallel between Jeter and ex-Jay Tony Fernández, whom he replaced as the starting Yankees shortstop in 1996. Jeter, as Fernández did, has that smooth batting stroke and polished ability to inside-out a ball to the opposite field. It's his fallback. Jeter will always hit for a decent average for as long as his body permits him.

On June 30, 1999, his 37th birthday, Fernández woke up leading the American League with a .395 batting average, having just dipped below .400 the day before. That was more or less it for him. He wasn't up to fielding well on a daily basis and that was his last year as an everyday player.

Jeter is starting to show the same kind of range at shortstop as Aerosmith's Steven Tyler did while assassinating God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch today at Fenway Park.

(Seriously, Steven Tyler should be all over the web and the highlight shows. By the way, there's no truth that his daughter, actress Liv Tyler, thought Todd Rundgren was going to perform.)

That could be where Jeter's headed. He's a remarkable hitter, but Baseball Prospectus 2008 noted he went through a spell last summer where he was nicked-up and got by slapping singles. That's probably going to start happening more and more with Jeter.


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