|Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman, left, tips his cap as New York Yankees' Derek Jeter goes by after hitting a home run for his 3,000 career hit during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 9, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)|
A day after 3,000, Yanks SS Jeter returns to work
NEW YORK—The morning after celebrating his 3,000th hit with friends and family, Derek Jeter was back at work.
At 11:42 a.m., Jeter walked out into the public part of the Yankees clubhouse wearing a navy University of Michigan T-shirt, blue jeans and white sneakers. He grabbed a towel, chatted briefly with some team employees, then sat down at his locker to talk to a waiting horde of reporters.
Among the questions he faced after a night of celebrating: So just how heartily does one party after becoming the only Yankees player in the 3,000-hit club?
"Not too much," Jeter said, grinning gently. "I don't really recover like I used to."
Besides, with Alex Rodriguez among several Yankees out with injuries, he knew manager Joe Girardi would be putting him right back in the lineup.
When he wasn't being quizzed on his activities from the night before, he was repeatedly asked about the disposition of memorabilia from the game, and the messages he got from other ballplayers to get 3,000 hits.
As he has been since he was a rookie, Jeter was all business.
"It's hard to sit here and think about yesterday," he said. "We've got a game in an hour."
When it started, and Jeter led off the bottom of the first inning, the crowd at Yankee Stadium stood and gave him a warm ovation while he went through his usual routine before stepping in.
In the third, Jeter got a bunt single. That's hit No. 3,004, if you're counting.
Otherwise, it was just another day at the ballpark.
The day before was pretty memorable, though.
Jeter got hit No. 2,999 in the first inning, meaning every at-bat that followed was going to be full of potential.
The next time up, Jeter homered deep into the left-field bleachers for his 3,000th career hit, tying the game at 1.
He got a hit his next time up, too. And the one after that. And then, finally, in the eighth inning, he got one more. A single that brought home the go-ahead run in a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
"Just one of those special days," Jeter said at the time.
"You want to hit the ball hard," he said. "I didn't want to hit a slow roller to third base and have it be replayed forever."
Another five-hit day -- it tied his career high -- and he would pas Al Kaline for 26th in major league history. At No. 25 with 3,010 hits is former teammate Wade Boggs, the only other player whose 3,000th hit was a home run.
But none of the hits that follow holds the cachet of that nice round number: 3,000.
And those probably wouldn't earn him a hug from Yogi Berra, either. Saturday, after Jeter got the hit, Berra said he was so proud of Jeter, he wanted to "give him a big hug."
"Yeah, he got me when I came around the corner," Jeter said, laughing. "It's always good to see Yogi."