Part of being a consistent success in the game of baseball is comfort level. Even for a 20-year big league veteran like Yankees captain Derek Jeter, there were times he didn’t feel comfortable. Infield shifts were one of those times. When Jeter found himself on the diamond at the same time as Alex Rodriguez, Jeter would find himself on the opposite side of the infield while A-Rod remained firmly planted on the third base, and presumably, more comfortable side to field.
Not anymore. With Alex Rodriguez now sitting at Fort Livingroom during the 2014, whomever is manning the hot corner for the Yankees, will be the one to shift over to the second base side during infield shifts. Assuming that the starter at third is Kelly Johnson, it may work out just fine since Johnson is more familiar and seasoned as second base than he is third base.
During their time together, it was always Jeter rather than A-Rod who shifted to the second base side, leaving A-Rod all by himself on those specific shifts. Even after almost two decades in the Majors, Jeter never felt right shifting, saying:
It feels worse for me if I’m on the other side of second…I’m all thrown off. It’s like looking in a mirror and everything is backwards. That’s why they’re doing it. Alex didn’t like it either so I was pretty much forced to do it in the past.
During a recent spring training game in which the shift had to be implemented, it was Yangervis Solarte and not Jeter who moved across the field. Since this is Jeter’s final season in pinstripes, he won’t have to worry about deferring to his former third base partner when A-Rod returns from suspension in 2015.