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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Pete Rose: Hits record safe from Jeter

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Pete Rose is a self-admitted big fan of Derek Jeter, but the all-time hits leader has done some math and says the New York Yankees' shortstop will not touch his record.

Rose told the website Sports on Earth this week that not only is time not on Jeter's side -- he's 38 years old and 952 hits shy of tying Rose -- but the Yankees also don't have the flexibility to move him to another position should Jeter remain productive at the plate.

"I don't think he will break the record," Rose said. "First of all, I don't think he wants to leave the Yankees. And the Yankees, they're about winning. Jeter had a great year this year, but he's what? Thirty-eight years old? And he's a shortstop? How many 40-year-old shortstops you see walking around? Not too many, right?

"And they can't put him at third because A-Rod's there. They can't put him at second 'cause (Robinson) Cano's there. He don't help them in left field -- he's got to be in the center of things, you know what I mean? What are they going to do? Put him at first base?"

Jeter led the majors with 216 hits in the regular season, his 17th, all with the Yankees. He currently has 3,304 career hits, good for 10th on the all-time list.

The Yankees' captain was asked about Rose's comments before Game 3 of the AL Division Series on Wednesday night against the Orioles, but he said he was focused on Baltimore, not any talk of a record.

"I don't even know why we're talking about this," Jeter said. "I'm not talking about Pete Rose, man; we're trying to win a game here."

When a reporter mentioned the possibility of a position switch to prolong his chance to reach Rose's mark, Jeter again deflected attention to the ALDS, which is locked in a 1-1 tie.

"Buddy, like I said, I'm trying to get through today," Jeter said.

Rose, banned from baseball for gambling on the game when he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds, retired in 1986 at age 45 with 4,256 hits. Rose broke Ty Cobb's record the year before he retired.

Jeter, Rose said, "had a great year this year, but you think he can do that again? At 39? A shortstop? Let's say he does it again. Let's say he gets 200 more hits next year. And let's say he gets 200 more hits when he's 40, though I don't think he can. OK, can he get 200 more hits when he's 41? You think he can?"

Rose continued, "I don't think he can get 200 more hits at 41, but let's say he does. OK, now he's 42. He's gonna get 200 more hits then? At 42? Let me tell you, I've been there; the body locks up. Jeter's a great hitter ... but he's gonna get 200 hits when he's 42? I don't think he will. And even if he does all that, he's still 150 hits short."

ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley contributed to this report.