ANAHEIM - Derek Jeter is mired in a hitless streak that has reached 13 at-bats, and had just three hits in 30 at-bats over the just-concluded Yankees homestand, dropping his batting average - which was up to .294 on April 25 - to .240. But manager Joe Girardi said he was not considering moving Jeter, who is hitting second in the lineup for Monday's series opener against the Los Angeles Angels, down in the Yankees batting order.
Not yet, anyway.
"We address our lineup every day, but I haven't [thought about that] yet,'' Girardi said. "He's not the only guy struggling. There are other guys that are struggling in our lineup and we still put them fourth, fifth, third. We're still doing that. I think it's somewhat early to do that."
Jeter, who will turn 40 on June 26, has not hit the ball with any authority all season, with just three extra-base hits, all doubles, of his 23 hits this season. His slugging average is .271. He has drawn nine walks, however, and his on-base percentage is .311.
"It's what hitters go through,'' Girardi said. "When you're older, that question is always going to come up. But the question wasn't asked two weeks ago when he was swinging the bat well.''
Jeter, who spoke to the Angels media before the game on the occasion of his last regular-season trip to Anaheim, said his early-season struggles are unrelated either to his age, or to any lingering problems with the broken ankle that limited him to just 17 games last season.
"I feel good,'' Jeter said. "I was swinging the bat pretty good with the exception of the last four or five games - and one of them (Friday's 14-inning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in which he went 0-for-7) counted for like three games. And as long as I feel good, the results are going to be there."
Girardi said he believed Jeter's slump would be temporary. "What year was it when people thought it was over before he got his 3,000th hit, then he put up another 200-hit season after that,'' Girardi said. "I understand people's concerns; it's a couple years later. I understand that, but for the most part we've left him alone and he's figured it out. It's in his DNA, it's been what he's done.''
Still, the manager would not rule out the possibility that at some point, he might have to have a difficult conversation with his shortstop and team captain, who has hit either first or second in the Yankees batting order for nearly 11,000 of his 12,075 career plate appearances.
"Derek is pretty easy to talk to,'' Girardi said. "I've shared ideas with him before about things that I possibly might do and it's never been a problem. Derek is about winning. Derek is probably going to tell you, 'If you think that's the best thing to do, then do it.'"