Wednesday, February 19, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. -- Everyone expect the batboy gathered in a room in Tampa today to listen to Derek Jeter talk about his retirement after this season. But that wasn't all that happened at Yankees camp. Ichiro Suzuki talked about fighting for a roster spot, position players officially reported, and more.

Jeter: "The time is right:" Ever since announcing last week his plans to retire after the season, reporters had been dying to ask the question, "why now, Jeter?" We finally got what we were looking for.

"I felt as though this was the right time," Jeter said. "I've been doing this for a long time; this will be parts of 20 seasons that I've been playing here in New York and parts of 23 if you count the Minor Leagues. I just think I've done it long enough and I look forward to doing some other things in my life. But I can't reiterate enough that we still have a season to play.”

Jeter said that his decision to retire had nothing to do with how he feels physically. He said that his ankle and the rest of his body are feeling great.

He added that player baseball has now become a job for him, especially after last season in which he played just 17 games because of various injuries. But Jeter said that he worked very hard this offseason, and expects to be the everyday shortstop this season.

“It’s all about the time. You can't do this forever," Jeter said. "I’d like to, but you can't do it forever. I feel as though the time is right after this year. There’s other things I want to do."

Ichiro making the best of his situation: After bringing in outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran this offseason, the Yankees gave themselves a backload of outfielders on the roster. Since then, Vernon Wells has been released, and Ichiro could be the next one to be moved.

Ellsbury, Beltran and Brett Gardner are going to be the three main outfielders, with Alfonso Soriano serving as the DH and fourth outfielder. Ichiro, however, doesn't really have any roles that we know of.

We can assume that he'll be the fifth outfielder, and come into games late as a pinch-runners, because he can still offer some speed in the bases.

“This is a place where the greatest players gather and play, so I'm really excited to play with those guys,” Ichiro said. “Obviously with the additions, I’m going to have to find a place for myself, but I worked hard this offseason. I worked on a lot of things, and throughout spring training, hopefully those things will come together and we'll see where it goes from there.”

Any thoughts about being released or traded?

“When you're here with the Yankees, you tend to think about those things,” he said. “You just never know with the great players coming here. I thought about a lot of things, which a lot of players do.”

Ichiro said that he has done everything that he can handle by coming to camp in shape, an is going to see how the rest plays out.

He also had something to say about Jeter retiring.

"I was really shocked, as I think were a lot of people." he said. "I didn't want to believe it. But I was actually shocked that he was doing Facebook. That's something that I was really shocked about."

Nunie shows up, plays the field: Eduardo Nunez arrived to camp today and spent a lot of time taking groundballs at both third base and shortstop, two positions that he is going to be competing for this spring. It would be great if Nunez finally plays to his full potential and wins a job at third base, as or just another reserve infielder.

Banuelos throws live BP: Manny Banuelos threw his first live batting practice session today. He had been throwing simulated games late last season, but today was his first in camp.

“Good, good, feels pretty good,” he said. “All my pitches worked. Velocity is good. I didn't throw, like, 100 percent because it was the first time, but it feels pretty good. … I’m happy man. It feels strong, feels good.”


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


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