Saturday, February 8, 2014

For the first time in a couple of years, Derek Jeter has been able to workout during the winter in preparations for the upcoming season.

He couldn't do anything last offseason because of the ankle surgery, and because he wasn't able to stay in shape and workout, Jeter hit the disabled list four different times, and hit .190 in just 17 games -- the first time in his 19-year career that he played below 131 games.

But Jeter is healthy, he's working out, and he's got everything thinking that the injuries and health problems are all behind him.

"Derek (Jeter) looks amazing." Yankees pitcher David Phelps told the New York Daily News. "That’s awesome."

Phelps said that he has watched some of Jeter's workouts at the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa and thinks that the Bombers will finally have the legendary shortstop on back on the field this season, playing just like the Derek Jeter we're all use to.

"You can tell he’s determined to go out there and do well," Phelps said. "If you had to place a bet on it, you know he’s going to go out there and have a good year. I'm really looking forward to seeing him play again. He’s having a lot of fun right now."

But does all of this mean? If Jeter is as healthy as he looks to others, what Jeter can we expect on the field this season?

Are we going to get the 2012 Derek Jeter that led the league in hits (216) and hit .316 in 158 games? Or are we going to get the 2010 version of Derek Jeter that displayed the worst offensive season of his career, hitting .270 in 157 games, causing many to question if the end is near?

It's no secret that the Yankees are hoping for the first version of Jeter.

They want the guy that is going to show up to the ballpark every day -- healthy -- ready to play and give the Yankees a performance working talking about here on the blog and in the newspapers the next day.

However, as much as I think that this might be Jeter's last season and I really want him to go out on top with a year like he had in '12, I'm not sure that he'll be able to perform up to his career line of .312/.381/.446.

But that doesn't mean he won't have a good season. I think that just staying healthy will make this season good for Jeter, because, well, he's Jeter, and he's still got a lot left in the tank.

When I started watching Yankees game, the Core Four of Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano River and Jorge Posada were leading the Yankees, making for from very enjoyable baseball to watch. But now Jeter is the only one left, and going another season without him would make games less enjoyable.

The Yankees didn't make a whole lot of moves to improve the infield this offseason, and re-signing Robinson Cano was not one of those moves. And though re-signing Brendan Ryan, and signing Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson gives them some more depth, it seems like Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner are hoping that Jeter is a big part if their success this season.

And they're not wrong. When Jeter is healthy and in the lineup, the Yankees are a much better team than they are when Ryan is hitting everyday, or when Eduardo Nunez is playing shortstop.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog, and you can follow him on Twitter (below).


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