Commentary

Captain insists he, Yanks on 'same page'

Derek Jeter was tight-lipped about Monday's conference call with his Yankee bosses

Updated: May 1, 2012, 9:17 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Sometime between 1 and 2 p.m. Monday, Derek Jeter, Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman and Randy Levine were all on the same phone line.

No one will say how long they were on, nor what was discussed, nor even who initiated the call.

But, as Jeter repeated no less than eight times in a four-minute interview at his locker before Monday night's Yankees-Rays game, "We are all on the same page."

What page that was, and what book it was from remained another closely guarded secret, although it is safe to assume the subject was Jorge Posada's one-game sitdown strike Saturday night and Jeter's subsequent reaction to it.

"If I tell you we talked for 20 minutes, you're going to try to find out what we talked about for 20 minutes," he said. "If I tell you we talked for 30 seconds, you're going to say it was too short. So I got nothing for you."

As ESPN's Buster Olney reported, some in the team's front office were apparently not happy that the Yankees' captain appeared to come out in support of a teammate who appeared to have declined to play due to a psychic bruise suffered when he fell to ninth in the batting order and landed on his ego.

"If I thought he did something wrong, I'd be the first tell him," Jeter said on Sunday, a comment that reportedly irked some in the front office, which was so enraged with Posada's actions it considered releasing him, according to Olney's report.

Jeter refused to address that issue, but did acknowledge he was not aware Posada had apologized to manager Joe Girardi and Cashman, the team's GM, when he made his statement at his locker before the Yankees' 7-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night.

But that was the only information Jeter gave out before Monday's game, other than to say "Everything's good," after the call, which he said came shortly after he awoke at about 1 p.m. after the Yankee charter arrived in Tampa at 4:30 a.m.

"We are all on the same page," Jeter said. "Same book, same page. I'm not gonna give you anything. I don't know what you've been told, but it's a non-issue."

Neither Cashman, Levine nor Steinbrenner returned messages Monday afternoon, and Posada did not speak to reporters before the game. He was not in the starting lineup, a move Girardi said was because the Tampa Bay Rays were starting David Price, a left-hander. Posada, a switch-hitter, has not had a hit in 24 at-bats this season as a right-handed batter.

"Jorgie's going through a rough period," Girardi said. "When a guy's had as much success as him, you expect success every year. I'm not saying that he's not going to have it, that he's not going to turn it around, but it's been a struggle for him. None of us want to see him struggle."

Asked if Posada would start Tuesday against right-hander James Shields, Girardi said, "We'll talk about tomorrow, tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Jeter did not want to talk about anything that happened today. "I told you [Sunday] I was going to talk about it once and that was going to be it," he said. "I learned a long time ago the longer you talk about things the longer they last. So this is over with. It's a non-issue."

Girardi said he thought the mini-controversy might actually be a plus for his team, which has lost five in a row and eight of its past 10. The Yankees fell into second-place in the AL East, 1-1/2 games behind the Rays, after being swept at home over the weekend by the Boston Red Sox.

"You know, it might be the best time for this to happen," Girardi said. "It might be what brings this club even closer. This is a close-knit group of guys, but this might be what pulls us even closer and maybe gets the focus off one of the guy's recent struggles and gets this club going. You go through eight-and-a-half months together, there are things that are going to happen. Some of them become public, some of them don't but this is a great group of guys and we'll get this righted."

That's because they're all on the same page. Just ask Jeter.

Just don't ask him anything else.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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