Brian Roberts entered the Yankees clubhouse this morning in a search to find his locker so he could set it up and head on the field with his new teammates. Roberts never expected his locker would be next to the one and only Derek Jeter.
“He’s meant a ton to me even though I only played about five games with him in the WBC as teammates,” Roberts said. “He’s just always been that guy that encouraged me from the other side. I played against him obviously a ton. One of those guys that early in my career really actually helped me believe that I could play here at this level and play well.”
He remembered a story from earlier in his career, when Jeter told him (during a game) that he could play on the Major League story.
“I think it was maybe 2004,” Roberts said. “I was on second or something and he just said, ‘You can hit .300 in this league.’ That was kind of, to hear it from someone like that, it just kind of opens your eyes. I don’t think it’s just me, I think he does it to everybody, but for some reason when he tells it to you, you think you’re the most important person in the world. He’s just kind of got that personality, and he’s so good with people.”
Roberts is quite a unique player: he has played with Cal Ripken Jr. during Ripken Jr.’s final year with the Baltimore Orioles and now he’ll get a chance to play with Jeter in Jeter’s final year with the Yankees.
“I had the opportunity to play with Cal (Ripken Jr.) his last year,” Roberts said. “So I’ve seen kind of that whole thing play out before, and that was an amazing experience to walk those last few months with Cal. I remember him hitting a home run in the eighth or something in Atlanta, and he got a curtain call. When does that ever happen, and I could see the same thing here happening. There’s such a select few guys that have meant what they’ve meant to the game, and it’s going to be an incredible experience to play with (Jeter) this year.”
Some Notes and Tidbits:
— Position players aren’t supposed to report until later this week, but Carlos Beltran reported to camp. He and Roberts spent the morning taking ground balls at second base and working on double plays. I’m going to take a guess and say Beltran was helping Roberts but if they were doing it for fun, it’s kind of odd on Beltran’s part. For one thing–he plays right field. So I guess this was the odd thing that happened today that I asked for yesterday.
— Multiple pitchers threw live batting practice today and some of them even went to the minor league complex to throw to hitters there.
Live batting practice:
David Phelps (Brian McCann catching; Sanchez hitting)
Adam Warren (Francisco Cervelli catching; McCann hitting)
Jim Miller (Austin Romine catching; Cervelli hitting)
Vidal Nuno (John Ryan Murphy catching; Romine hitting)
Preston Claiborne (Gary Sanchez catching; Murphy hitting)
Getty Images photos