Texas Rangers: Kevin Long
Q: What is this countdown like for Derek Jeter? Does he seem calm about it? Excited? Feeling any pressure? In your opinion, what does that achievement mean to do it all under the glare of the Yankee spotlight?
AM: Jeter is calm about such things. He doesn't get all unnerved like A-Rod did when he would hit his 500th and 600th homer. Since he will be the first Yankee ever to get to 3K, it is a pretty good accomplishment since the team has had some good players in the past. It will mean more to him if Durrett is in attendance when he does it.
Q: Why has Boston been so good against the Yankees this season? Are the Yankees surprised by how well Boston has responded after a rough start?
AM: The Red Sox are better than the Yankees. The Yankees aren't surprised the Red Sox recovered. They have too much talent not to.
Q: What has made Curtis Granderson so good this year and a guy who could start in the All-Star Game?
AM: He changed his swing with hitting coach Kevin Long in Texas last August. That has made the difference. He is a totally different player. They quieted his swing, eliminating the excess movement before the pitch.
Q: Since the last time the Rangers and Yankees played, who has been New York's MVP? Who's been disappointing?
AM: The MVP probably has been CC. Jeter still isn't great, but Russell Martin has sort of gone the other way.
Q: Give us a quick scouting report on the Yankee starting pitchers for the series.
AM: Ivan Nova is as inconsistent but pitched well his last time out. CC Sabathia is the best pitcher on the staff. We don't know yet who will start Thursday with big Bart Colon hurt.
Q: How has the Yankee bullpen performed over the last month?
AM: Hurt. Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain are out. The bullpen has been OK, but they are thin.
Q: Anything else Ranger fans should know about the Yankees before this series gets going?
AM: The whole focus of the series is going to be if Jeter can get to 3K before the Yankees hit the road.
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