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© St. Petersburg Times, published February 6, 2001


Jeter says he wants to stay put

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter isn't interested in seeing what he is worth on the free agent market. He wants to stay with the Yankees.

"I've said it before: I want to be a Yankee for life. I've been very vocal about that for the last few years," the All-Star shortstop said Monday during an appearance with about 150 New York schoolchildren.

Jeter's agent and the Yankees have been negotiating a $189-million, 10-year contract that would be the second largest in sports history. The sides still have details to work out, such as how the money in the last three seasons would be divided.

Until the deal is finalized, Jeter isn't counting on it. He remembers last year, when Yankees president Randy Levine and agent Casey Close agreed to a $118.5-million, seven-year contract only to have it nixed by owner George Steinbrenner.

"Last year, from all the things I saw on TV, I was already signed," Jeter said.

Close was in Phoenix working on the salary arbitration case of Milwaukee pitcher Jamey Wright, which is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday.

Levine remained in New York preparing for the arbitration hearing of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, scheduled for Thursday in Phoenix.

ARBITRATION: First baseman Travis Lee had the first hearing this year as he and the Phillies argued their cases before a three-man panel in Phoenix. Forty-eight players remain in arbitration, with hearings scheduled through Feb. 21. Last year, 10 cases went to hearings.

OPENING DAY: Tickets go on sale 9 a.m. Saturday for the major league season opener between the Rangers and Blue Jays, 4 p.m. April 1 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Call Casatron at (787) 728-4000 or visit its Web site at http://www.casatronpr.com. Each customer is limited to 10 tickets.

METS: Edgar Alfonzo, older brother of New York second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo, will manage the team's New York-Penn League team that begins play this summer in Brooklyn.

TWINS: Relief pitcher Bob Wells signed a one-year contract extension through the 2003 season.

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