Jeter laughs off Hank Steinbrenner’s comments

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Jeter hit .270 last year, 44 points below his career average. He also went through offseason contract talks that were played out in public and became snippy at times en route to a $51 million, three-year deal.

Jeter disagrees with Steinbrenner, who said the 2010 team may have been “riding the wave” of the World Series title.

“That I didn’t see,” Jeter said. “I wouldn’t say it was a lack of hunger. I just think we didn’t play as well, that’s why we lost. We got beat by a team that was better than us in that (ALCS) series.”

“Owners can say whatever they want,” Jeter added. “They’re entitled to their opinions. You don’t always, necessarily, agree with their opinion. We can have a difference of opinion.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi believes Steinbrenner was just venting about how last season ended.

“The same frustration all of us had last year,” Girardi said. “I was not happy about the way we played. The players were not happy about the way we played. We didn’t play well against Texas for a lot of reasons. We didn’t, necessarily, hit. We didn’t, necessarily, pitch. That’s bad combination.”

Some consider the Yankees to be an underdog in the AL East after Boston added left fielder Carl Crawford and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. It’s a position Steinbrenner will not take.

“I’m not going to say that about our players,” he said. “That would be insulting our players. All I’m saying is were one of the four or five best teams in baseball. Anyone of those teams could win the World Series.”

Notes: DH Jorge Posada, who could see limited time behind the plate, is scheduled to start catching bullpen sessions on Thursday. He had offseason surgery to repair a small tear in his left knee. … RHP Bartolo Colon will start Saturday’s spring training opener against Philadelphia. Following Colon in the early rotation will be Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia. … Closer Mariano Rivera, set for his first bullpen session in the next couple days, threw batting practice to his children on a back field after the workout.

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