Yankee captain Derek Jeter worked all offseason to change his approach at the plate after a career-worst 2010 campaign. But after an ever worse start to the 2011 season, Jeter is already abandoning those changes.
"I need to go back to what worked for me during my prime," said Jeter, whose average is hovering around .200. "I hoped using that fat plastic bat would help me make contact, but I feel like I look foolish out there — even more foolish than I look with a regular wood bat."
The few times Jeter has made contact this season, the ball cracked his plastic bat or the contact resulted in nothing but a weak ground ball. The short, two-foot bat also had him struggling to get to any pitches on the outside corner.
"I'm not sure if I'll be any better with a real wood bat," said Jeter. "In fact, I'm sure I won't be. But at least I'll be able to go out with what remains of my dignity."
The Yankees have reportedly been talking with their opponents about allowing Jeter to hit off of a tee. Only the Red Sox have been open to the idea so far, provided their entire lineup be allowed to hit off a tee, too.
Even if Jeter never regains his stroke, the Yankees say they are sticking with their longtime leader.
"It's hilarious to watch him flailing away out there like a little kid," says Alex Rodriguez. "It really keeps the rest of us loose and having fun."