Girardi: Jeter retirement decision still seems unreal
New York Yankees' Derek Jeter, right, and manager Joe Girardi watch the batting cage during the baseball team's batting practice for the American League Division Series in Minneapolis, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. (AP / Charlie Neibergall)
Ronald Blum, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, February 18, 2014 6:00PM EST
TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter's retirement announcement will soon seem a lot more real for New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
The Yankees captain said last week in a statement that this will be his final season, and he planned to discuss his decision during a news conference at Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday, when New York's position players report for spring training.
"It's probably going to set in a little more, because I'm actually going to hear it instead of reading it, and see it come out of his mouth," Girardi said Tuesday.
Girardi joined the Yankees as a catcher in 1996, when Jeter won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and was his teammate for four seasons. He's entering his seventh year as Jeter's manager.
"I think about when he came up, when he was there every day in '96, how youthful he was -- and God, he looked so young -- but how mature he was as a player and what he blossomed into," Girardi said. "You think about all the things that he's done, it's kind of what rolls through your mind. And then you kind of look at yourself and say, 'Where did all the time go?"'
Most Yankees players are expected to attend the news conference, to be held in the pavilion behind the third-base stands. It will be similar to Mariano Rivera's news conference last March 9 to announce his retirement decision.
"I'm excited to play with Derek. He's always been great to me whenever I've gotten on base," new Yankees centre fielder Jacoby Ellsbury said. "Just me coming up as a young kid. I always had great respect. It will be exciting to play with him his last year, but it would have been nice if I had a few more years."
Jeter, who turns 40 in June, played just 17 games last year after breaking an ankle in the 2012 AL championship series opener. He has been working out for about a month at the Yankees' minor league complex and says he feels completely recovered.
Brendan Ryan, signed as a free agent during the off-season, figures to back up Jeter at shortstop and expects many fans won't be pleased on days he is in the starting lineup instead of the Yankees captain.
"Embrace the boos," Ryan said of his mindset.