Jeter looking to hit stride at the plate
Yanks' hitting coach says captain sticking to plan
BOSTON -- Derek Jeter's stride-free approach has not yielded instant offensive results, but his hitting coach is adamant that the Yankees captain is sticking with the plan.
Kevin Long said after the Yankees' 4-0 loss to Josh Beckett and the Red Sox on Sunday that Jeter has not abandoned the concept, which keeps his left foot more quiet and permits him to avoid being jammed on inside pitches and not hit as many ground balls.
"I think he's feeling better about what he's doing and he's not thinking as much about the mechanics of his swing," Long said. "At this point, it's about competing, it's about putting together quality at-bats.
"Everybody's talking about abandoning stuff. That's so far from the truth that I think it's wrong to write. That's not right. He really has stayed to the plan."
But Jeter has struggled with continuing to think about his mechanics at the plate, something the Yankees hoped he would get past before the end of Spring Training.
Earlier on Sunday, Long said in an interview with reporters from Newsday and ESPN that Jeter was moving closer to the approach that he had before last September, when Long tweaked Jeter's stride during a series against the Rangers in Texas.
"It is more of what Derek Jeter has done for his whole career," Long said. "Even from my standpoint, it looks a lot more like what he did in the past. Again, he has had a very successful career and it has worked out well for him."
Jeter is hitting .206 (7-for-34) with no home runs and two RBIs.
"I'm fine. I feel good," Jeter said. "I mean, obviously I don't have the results. But what I worry about is being comfortable. I felt pretty comfortable the past few games."
Jeter said that facing Beckett wasn't a fun at-bat by any means, but he remains confident that he is doing the proper things at the plate.
"Just seeing the ball well," Jeter said. "From a hitter's standpoint, sometimes you get into a situation where you're not picking it up and you start swinging at bad pitches. The more comfortable you are, the better pitches you swing at."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Sunday's game that it was too early to be taking the temperature of Jeter's season on a nightly basis.
"I think you have to see 100 to 150 at-bats," Girardi said. "But I just don't want to judge it too quick. It's not fair to the player. We know how resilient Derek has been in his career and all the great things that's he's done, and I think you have to give him an opportunity."
As the Yankees prepared to fly home to New York on Sunday, Long characterized the 2011 version of Jeter as a work in progress.
"Everybody works day in and day out," Long said. "You're always working on your swing, you're always working on your mechanics, you're always working to get things right. To go after somebody and say he's not doing things the way we set out to do, that's not the truth, because he's really worked hard at it."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.