Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baseball [Print without images]

Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Jeter to Ortiz: Yanks have 'something to play for'

ESPN.com news services

Success is apparently its own reward for New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
Ortiz v. Jeter:
The Case For MVP
David Ortiz
Ortiz
Derek Jeter
Jeter
Pos. Desig. Hitter Shortstop
Avg. .283 .340 (2nd AL)
HR 49 (1st AL) 14
RBI 129 (1st AL) 95 (19th AL)
Quote: "Don't get me wrong -- [Jeter's] a great player, having a great season, but he's got a lot of guys in that lineup ... Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be." "I don't have to do it in [Ortiz's] lineup. ... I'm not thinking about the MVP right now. We're thinking about winning a division. We've still got something to play for."

When asked about Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz's grousing about his chances to be the American League MVP, Jeter noted the Yankees still have "something to play for."

In comments published Monday, Ortiz said the Red Sox's free-fall from the AL playoff race should not affect his MVP candidacy with voters, and compared his own performance to Jeter, whose MVP stock rose as the Yankees took command of the AL East. New York led Boston by 10 games on Tuesday.

"Don't get me wrong -- he's a great player, having a great season, but he's got a lot of guys in that lineup," Ortiz said of Jeter. "Top to bottom, you've got a guy who can hurt you. Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be."

To that, Jeter replied "I don't have to do it in his lineup."

"I'm not thinking about the MVP right now," he told reporters Monday. "We're thinking about winning a division. We've still got something to play for."

He then added, "No one here's focused on individual awards."

Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon said Ortiz's comments didn't sound like the Big Papi he played with for three seasons in Boston.

"It doesn't sound like Ortiz," Damon told reporters. "I can't believe he would say something like that."

Damon said he thought Ortiz was a "shoo-in" for MVP last season, but lost out to Alex Rodriguez last year because being a DH hurt him with the voters.