TAMPA, Fla. -- Any concerns the Yankees might have had about Derek Jeter's reduced stride at the plate are dissolving, as the captain's stroke seems to be rounding into midseason form.
Jeter said that he has been happy with his progress, beginning his first full season with the tweaks hitting coach Kevin Long has incorporated to avoid being eaten up by inside pitches and pounding balls into the ground.
The 36-year-old shortstop went 1-for-3 in the Yankees' 6-2 Grapefruit League loss to the Braves on Friday, and after a slow start is now hitting .333 (8-for-24).
"This isn't the first time I made an adjustment," Jeter said. "It's the first time it's gotten a lot of attention, but this is something that happens throughout the years. It's going to take a while before you're 100 percent comfortable with it, but you still think about things."
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"There was a lot talked about the first three games where he hit six ground balls, and everyone was kind of [saying], 'Here we go again,'" Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Then he started hitting line drives all over the place, so I've been happy with it."
The change allows Jeter slightly more time to see pitches and also may permit him to pull the ball more, while still keeping open the option to go to right field on outside pitches.
Jeter said that the new approach doesn't completely feel natural, and Girardi said that Jeter still seems to be thinking about the adjustments while batting.
"I think he thinks more than he probably ever has," Girardi said. "That's what we have to get rid of. We'll get him as many at-bats as we can."
Jeter said that he will instinctively pick up his left foot now and again, but he is getting better at blocking it out.
"I'm pretty sure it will always come up a little bit," Jeter said. "It's not a situation where you completely try to eliminate it. I'm trying to eliminate bad stride direction. As long as it's not going in the wrong direction, then it's fine."
Jeter said that he is past the point where he needs to confer with Long regularly about what he is feeling with the mechanical adjustments.
"We talk about at-bats and pitches, but we're not always talking about the stride," Jeter said. "I don't come running up to him and ask about my stride every day. I have an understanding of what I'm trying to do, and we have drills that we work on. But at this point, it's more at-bats and pitches."
Joba keeps visuals of form as reminders
TAMPA, Fla. -- Each morning when Joba Chamberlain arrives at his locker this spring, he glances up at a snapshot frozen in time, one depicting the pitcher the Yankees want him to be.
It is a screen capture from Chamberlain's rookie season, and Chamberlain is about to blow a pitch past the Tigers' Ivan Rodriguez to close out a Bombers victory on Aug. 17, 2007.
His form appears perfect, at least in the opinion of pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who plucked the video from the team's archives and printed it out for Chamberlain to examine.
He is driving forward, his glove is tucked perfectly and his legs are in mid-pump. Rodriguez doesn't know it, but he is about walk back to the dugout at the old Yankee Stadium with "New York, New York" blasting.
"It's just a reminder," Chamberlain said. "I'm more of a visual guy. If you tell me to do it, that's one thing, but if I can see what I'm supposed to be doing, it helps me a lot."
Chamberlain posted a phenomenal 0.38 ERA that season in 19 appearances, and while the Yankees don't expect him -- or anyone, really -- to duplicate that performance, reinforcing the positive images can only help.
"I sometimes fly open with my front side," Chamberlain said. "I have another picture down here [in my locker] where you can't see my front arm or my glove, so it means my front side is flying open too early. That's why my ball cuts.
"I'll go back and look at the last couple [of outings] and compare to see how much better my front side is. My arm is so quick that sometimes my front side will fly open before I can let my legs work."
Yogi back in Bombers camp after tumble
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees legend Yogi Berra was back in camp on Friday, a day after he was briefly hospitalized as a precaution following a fall.
Berra tumbled backward while getting a bowl of soup on Thursday morning at the Phillies' Spring Training stadium in Clearwater, Fla.
He did not want medical attention, but was examined at an area hospital and released later in the day.
"I feel good," Berra said, according to The Associated Press. "I didn't like the soup."
Berra, 85, is in camp with the Yankees as a guest instructor. He watched the Bombers' 6-2 loss to the Braves with his wife, Carmen, from a third-level luxury suite at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"I saw him last night. He was great," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Today, he's great. He's the same."
Yankees outfielder Austin Krum made a terrific diving catch in center field to take an extra-base hit away from the Braves' Ed Lucas in the sixth inning on Friday. Joba Chamberlain doffed his cap to Krum, and later said, "You've gotta give love." ... Closer Mariano Rivera is scheduled to make his first spring appearance on Sunday against the Twins. He pitched only six innings last spring. ... Jesus Montero may only be hitting .136 (3-for-22), but that doesn't concern Joe Girardi, who said his defense has been much better than last season. "To me, the defense has to come first," Girardi said. ... Ivan Nova can still be sent to the Minors, but Girardi said that won't influence the Yankees' decision as he competes against Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Sergio Mitre. "We're going to take who we feel gives us the best chance to win," he said.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.