- Associated Press - Thursday, December 2, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Yankees increased their contract offer to Derek Jeter.

The team informed Jeter’s side of the new offer during a telephone conversation early Thursday, a person familiar with the negotiations said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

“The ball’s in Derek’s court now, and his agent,” Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner said later Thursday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s up to them.”

Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, declined comment. But since negotiations resumed Tuesday, talks have appeared to gain a little momentum.

“We don’t know how happy they are. We’ll see,” Steinbrenner said. “There’s no possible way anybody could criticize us for what we’ve offered.”

New York opened with a $45 million, three-year proposal last month, then awaited a formal counteroffer from its captain. It was not known whether the new offer improved the value, contract length or both.

Before the sides met this week, their first session since Nov. 8, Close had suggested a contract averaging about $23 million for four or five seasons.

Steinbrenner thinks talks are progressing well to re-sign closer Mariano Rivera, who like Jeter is a free agent.

“I think you can be pretty confident in Mo,” he said. “We’re looking good.”

While negotiating with its own players who became free agents, the Yankees are anticipating talks will intensify at next week’s winter meetings with Cliff Lee. Among other team’s free agents, the 32-year-old left-hander is New York’s No. 1 priority.

“It’s no secret we want Cliff, and we will do what we can to get him,” Steinbrenner said. “That’s the bottom line.”

NOTES: The Yankees and RHP Sergio Mitre agreed to a $900,000, one-year contract, avoiding arbitration. He can earn $200,000 more in performance bonuses: $50,000 each for 40, 55, 65 and 70 games. New York did not offer contracts to RHP Alfredo Aceves and RHP Dustin Moseley, allowing both to become free agents.



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