Derek Jeter: 'The time is right'


TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter says he will retire after the 2014 season because he is simply ready to begin the second half of his life.

"I feel the time is right," said a seemingly unemotional Jeter, dressed in a Yankees hat, pullover and team shorts. "There are other things I want to do."

On Wednesday, the 39-year-old Jeter spoke publicly for the first time since announcing his plans on Facebook a week ago. He said he would like to start a family post-retirement, extend his business career and do more philanthropic work, all without the burden of a 162-game season.

In 2013, Jeter played in only 17 games because of a variety of injuries related to the dislocated ankle he suffered in Game 1 of the 2012 American League Championship Series. He found the year tedious and had a lot of time to think about his future. He decided a few months ago that he wanted to retire; friends and family advised him to wait before making the decision public.

Jeter emphasized that his conditioning had nothing to do with his decision.

"Physically, I feel great, and I look forward to playing a full season," said Jeter, who added he worked harder this winter than any previous one.

Inside the media tent at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Yankees' spring training home, Jeter's teammates and coaches joined owner Hal Steinbrenner, GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi at the team captain's news conference. A year ago, there was a similar scene when Mariano Rivera said 2013 would be his final season.

Jeter tried to play down the fuss, saying he didn't look at it as a retirement news conference because he still has a season to play. At one point, he even instructed Girardi to take the team out for drills if there was still work to do.

He was not very reflective, but he did say what is most important to his legacy.

"The thing that means the most to me is to be remembered as a Yankee," Jeter said.

Jeter enters his final season needing just four hits to move past Paul Molitor's 3,319 for eighth place all time. Jeter, whose career corresponded with the expanded playoff format, has played in the most postseason games and racked up the most playoff hits and runs in history. He has helped the Yankees win five championships.

He is the only Yankee with 3,000 hits, and his 3,316 are sixth-most for a player with one franchise, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He ranks first in Yankees history in hits, stolen bases, at-bats and games played.

The Yankees conclude the regular season Sept. 26-28 with three games at Fenway Park.

On Wednesday, Jeter arrived in the clubhouse two hours before his news conference. In the stall next to his, Brett Gardner held court with reporters. Jeter chimed in, referencing Jacoby Ellsbury's addition in center field by saying, "How do you feel about going to left?"

After a reporter asked, with Ellsbury on board, about the possibility that Gardner could get traded, Jeter said, "You're getting traded now?" Gardner later asked Jeter if his Facebook account was a fake.

During the news conference, Jeter didn't seem any different than any other year.

"Yeah, I'm emotional," he said when asked about his lack of emotion. "It is kind of difficult because we still have a season to play. I have feelings. I'm not emotionally stunted."

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