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New York Yankees: Is Derek Jeter's Career Winding Down?

Bill Ford@billfordwritesCorrespondent IIIDecember 29, 2011

The Captain, Derek Jeter
The Captain, Derek JeterNick Laham/Getty Images

Let me begin by saying no.  The captain of the New York Yankees may have hit a few bumps, and he may have had to dig himself out of a few slumps, but the captain is back and prepared to lead.

While we all watched earlier in the season, we saw Jeter battle through some difficult times.  We cringed as we saw some terrible batting attempts.  Our hearts ached while we watched him struggle.  Those dark days were not the Derek Jeter that we knew.  We know him as the Lou Gehrig of today.

Many criticized him.  Many said that his time was up.  Some mocked him.  Any true Yankee fan who bleeds Yankee blood believed in him.  Just as we Yankee fans believed, he followed through.  He is our captain.

During his struggles, Jeter sustained a calf injury which put him on the disabled list for three weeks.  His injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise. 

Before his injury, his batting average was .260.  During the three weeks that he was out and recovering, he worked on his batting mechanics with instructor Gary Denbo.  Once Jeter was reactivated, he hit .331 in 69 games.  The captain had returned with a vengeance. 

We all know the history from that point.  He smashed a home run for his 3000th hit against Tampa Bay pitcher David Price.  Only 28 people have reached that milestone.  Jeter went five-for-five in that game silencing the critics.

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Derek Jeter has had more time to recover from his calf injury during the off-season.  Spring training isn’t far off, and I think that we’ll see the Jeter that we know.  Yes, he’s getting older.  He proved that he still has the skill and strength to play quality baseball.  2012 may very well be a monster year for Jeter.

Jeter is a rarity.  He is one of those athletes who only comes along once or twice in a generation.  He is a phenomenal athlete, a skilled sportsman, and he is the definition of a true gentleman of the game. 

Derek Jeter is a class act, and I look forward to him silencing the critics once again long before they have a chance to have an opinion.

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