At charity event, Jeter says he's been 'working hard'
Shortstop's Turn 2 Foundation hosts annual golf-tournament fundraiser
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees captain Derek Jeter expects to be back on the field Monday, a month before New York's first full-squad Spring Training workout.
Speaking Wednesday night at the launch party for his Turn 2 Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic, Jeter said his offseason workouts have been going "real good" and he's looking forward to returning to the field. The 19-year veteran was limited to only 17 games last season due to injuries, and he finished an admittedly frustrating season on the disabled list.
"I've been working hard. I started working out at the beginning of November, so it's been a while," Jeter said. "I'm just anxious to get back out there."
As usual, Jeter wasn't quite so eager to talk about his future beyond this season. He and the Yanks agreed to a one-year, $12 million contract earlier this offseason. Jeter, who will turn 40 in June, said he is focused solely on the 2014 season, the same way he's always viewed his career, one year at a time.
"I think that's the only way you can have any sort of success, is to think about one year at a time. I never try to look into the future," Jeter said. "I'm just looking forward to getting back on the field, starting throwing and hitting and doing all that. That's my next priority."
Before that, however, Jeter will host his 11th Annual Celebrity Golf Classic, which began with Wednesday night's red-carpet event and launch party at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Jeter welcomed Angels slugger Albert Pujols, former Yankees teammates Tino Martinez and Jorge Posada, former Major Leaguers Andres Galarraga, Goose Gossage, Andruw Jones and Harold Reynolds, NFL wide receiver Greg Jennings and singer Ne-Yo, among others.
The party and celebrity golf tournament benefit Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation, which was established in 1996 and has since awarded more than $19 million in grants to create and support programs and activities to motivate kids to live healthy lifestyles. Jeter admitted he's surprised by how much his foundation has grown over the years.
"I remember having our first event in Kalamazoo [Mich.]. Kirby Puckett was there, and we didn't know what to expect, and look at it now," Jeter said as he stood on the red carpet. "We never knew how long or how successful the foundation would be, and the only reason it's been this successful is because of all the support we've got from the community, corporate sponsors, my partners. It's something my entire family's proud of."
Posada is a regular guest at Jeter's charity events, saying Wednesday night he's "got to support a friend.
"He supports me in everything I do, so I'm always here," Posada said.
Pujols and Jeter don't go quite as far back as the two longtime teammates, but the three-time National League MVP Award winner said he was no less excited to attend the event.
"It's cold in St. Louis, so I couldn't say no," Pujols joked. "He's been amazing. I remember getting the opportunity to meet him my rookie year. He treats everybody the same way. It doesn't matter if you're a rookie or a veteran guy. He always has that smile.
"He's always competitive on the field, but when you get the opportunity to see him off the field, he always takes his time to say hello and spend time with people. That's who Derek is."