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Jeter bounces back big
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07/12/2004  9:00 PM ET
Jeter bounces back big
Shortstop shakes off early season funk
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Derek Jeter earned his first All-Star starting berth. (Ed Betz/AP)
HOUSTON -- On May 25, with his batting average at a paltry .189, the All-Star Game was the farthest thing from Derek Jeter's mind.

Yet here he is, set to start at shortstop for the American League on Tuesday, having been elected by the fans for the first time in his illustrious career.

What a difference seven weeks can make.

Since that day in late May, Jeter has hit .381 with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs, turning his season around in the blink of an eye.

"I didn't start off too good this year, so the All-Star Game wasn't something I had been thinking about back then," Jeter said. "I've been able to swing the bat a lot better, play a lot better than I was early in the season."

Last year, Jeter saw his streak of five consecutive All-Star appearances snapped after he missed the first six weeks of the season with a shoulder injury. When Alex Rodriguez moved from shortstop to third base this winter, it opened up the starting spot for the AL All-Star team, and Jeter was rewarded with his first All-Star starting assignment.

2004 All-Star Game

"You can never take All-Star Games for granted. It's always special to be here," Jeter said. "It's fun to be here, especially after missing last year's All-Star Game. This is the first time I've been voted in by the fans, so this has a lot of meaning for me to be here. The fans are showing their appreciation for the way you play the game."

Jeter, who was named the Yankees' captain last summer, has seven of his teammates with him in Houston, as well as manager Joe Torre and the Yankees' entire coaching staff.

"I take a lot of pride in the tradition of our organization," Jeter said. "It makes me feel good to come here and represent the Yankees."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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