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NY Post
New York Post
9 Sep 2023

NextImg:Derek Jeter impressed by rookie Anthony Volpe’s ‘maturity’ in up-and-down Yankees season

Derek Jeter has watched more of Anthony Volpe’s highlights than actual games. 

But the Yankees’ Hall of Fame shortstop has still been impressed by the player who drew a slew of comparisons to No. 2 during spring training.

“I think the thing that stands out the most when talking with the coaches is the fact that, whether it’s an up and down game, week or month offensively, he doesn’t take it to the defensive side. I think that says a lot about his maturity,” Jeter said at Saturday’s Old-Timers’ Day, his first at Yankee Stadium. “But he’s gonna get better. It all comes with experience. 

“I think he’s handled himself [well]. It’s tough playing here in New York as a young player when the expectations are high. From everything I can tell, the way he handles himself stands out the most.”

Volpe has endured a tough rookie season, slashing .214/.293/.397 at the plate, but it hasn’t come without positives.

Derek Jeter returned to Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium for the first time.
Robert Sabo for the NY Post

According to Baseball Reference, the rookie leads the league in defensive WAR.

His hitting also took a positive turn in late June, when a chicken parm dinner with teammate Austin Wells led him to make a change in his batting stance.

There have been a number of Yankees shortstops in the nine years since Jeter last played, but none came with more hype than Volpe, who grew up in New Jersey as a fan of the team.

After Volpe made the Yankees out of spring training, Jeter called with congratulations.

And as the Yankees honored their 1998 championship squad on its 25th anniversary, Jeter posed for a photo with Volpe.

“Have fun,” Jeter said, when asked his advice for Volpe and the rest of the Yankees’ young players. “What I’ve told young players during my career when they come up: it’s the same game. It’s just more people in the stands. 

“Sometimes you get up to this level and try to do things differently, but you have to be yourself. Don’t try to do something that you’re not accustomed to. You have to enjoy yourself. Try and improve each and every day. Bottom line here is you gotta win. So that’s the thing you should focus most on.”

Four-time title-winning manager Joe Torre’s advice for Aaron Boone, who has failed to deliver in the same role, followed a similar line.

Anthony Volpe has served as the Yankees' primary shortstop during his rookie season.

Anthony Volpe has served as the Yankees’ primary shortstop during his rookie season.
Jason Szenes for the NY Post

“When you agree to do this job … the expectations are sky-high,” Torre said. “No getting around it. You’re gonna have to deal with it and understand there’s always that cloud that’s gonna hang over when things go badly.

“From what I get chatting with Booney and seeing it from time to time, he’s handling it really well. He’s out there, he’s working hard, that’s all you can really do. They’ve had some bad breaks, but that’s not an excuse for the New York Yankees. You’re expected to win.”

Before speaking with reporters, Jeter was showered in cheers when introduced on the field, with the Yankees using former PA announcer Bob Sheppard’s voice for his introduction.

Derek Jeter, pictured making a play in 2014, said his advice to Anthony Volpe and the other young Yankees was to "have fun."

Derek Jeter, pictured making a play in 2014, said his advice to Anthony Volpe and the other young Yankees was to “have fun.”
Getty Images

Jeter, 49, joked that he is “working on rebranding the name Old-Timers’ Day,” but seemed to be in good spirits during a press conference that also included Torre, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.

“We don’t get together as a group that often,” Jeter said. “When we do, it feels like we’ve never left each other.”