New York Yankees: Has Derek Jeter Given Up on Kevin Long?

Shaun McPartlinCorrespondent IIIApril 7, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 31:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees runs down the first baseline in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on March 31, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

It seems as if Kevin Long might not be able to solve everyones hitting problems after all.

Earlier in the week, Jeter told Ian O'Connor, a columnist for ESPN New York, that he wasn't thinking about his new stride after working on it all spring. Jeter was quoted as saying, "I just said the heck with it. I wasn't going to think about it. Before you're trying to think about where you foot is and you're trying not to move it and it's just too much to think about."

Sounds to me that Jeter is not happy with his early production and is ready to chalk this one up as a mistake and move on. Shouldn't Jeter have more confidence in the man who worked with Nick Swisher last season—career high .288 BA, 29 HR and an All-Star appearance—and eliminated some of the excess movement in Curtis Granderson's swing—Grandy turned it on after the alterations hitting 17 of his 24 HR in the second half of the season.

Long has been quite successful in helping players break out of old habits to resurrect their swing with a new approach. Does Jeter feel that at 36-years-old it is too late to make any real adjustments to his swing?

Who can blame him if he does feel that way. He has almost 3,000 hits with his old mechanics.

Buster Olney has also reported today that there have been "indications" that Jeter has reverted to his old ways and has returned to his leg kick and stride.

Even during the game versus the Twins on Tuesday, it was noticed by Michael Kay and Ken Singleton during their broadcast on YES, that Jeter seemed to have gone back to the toe-tap with his striding foot.

This is used as a timing mechanism, but also was part of the reason that Jeter was late with his swing. That extra movement was what Kevin Long was working on removing so Derek could be faster through the zone.

It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Jeter has seemed to return to his hitting style that has worked for him in the past. I can see how he has grown frustrated since a majority of his hits have been ground balls and he isn't hitting the line drives he is used to. He has one extra base hit on the season—which coincidentally came during today's game when he utilized his stride again.

Long has been able to fix the swings of nearly all of the Yankee sluggers, but maybe Jeter is the one that gets away. If he can get back to his .300 self, no one will care how he does it.