Jeter jests about ex-Yankee Nunez
Derek Jeter is pretty sure he likes Eduardo Nunez, a shortstop who was once considered a potential successor to the New York Yankees legend. But he can’t be sure.
“He doesn’t speak Spanish or English very well,” Jeter joked shortly before the Minnesota Twins and Yankees opened a four-game series at Target Field. “You don’t know what he’s saying most of the time.”
Actually, Jeter said, “I love Nunez. He was a great teammate, fun to be around.” But when the Yankees needed a roster spot during the season’s first week, they jettisoned Jeter’s backup, trading him to the Twins for minor league pitcher Miguel Sulbaran. Nunez has hit .305 in 28 games with the Twins, turning into a valuable utility player.
“He works extremely hard. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for him with the Yankees,” Jeter said. “But I wish him the best in Minnesota.”
Minnesota seems to be wishing Jeter the best, too, as he makes his final appearance in the Twin Cities. The Yankees captain announced in February that 2014 is his final season — though that doesn’t mean he’s easing into retirement.
“I don’t like calling it a farewell tour. It’s my last year, but we’re still trying to win games,” Jeter said. “I have a job to do, so I’m not just walking around shaking hands and taking pictures.”
Still, the Twins, like most teams the Yankees have visited this season, plan to honor him while he’s here. A gift will be presented before today’s game, though not the one manager Ron Gardenhire recommended: “I wanted to give him a Jet Ski,” the manager said.
Instead, the team has come up with something “that’s really pretty cool,” said Gardenhire, who helped come up with the notion last year of giving Mariano Rivera a rocking chair made of broken bats. “I know this about Jeet: He’s not one of those guys who wants a bunch of showy stuff. He doesn’t want to put stuff all over his house. So they did something pretty neat.”