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March 7, 2006

Derek Jeter

Alex Rodriguez


Q. If I could get both of your reactions to the passing of Kirby Puckett. Maybe Derek, start with you.
DEREK JETER: It was sad. I mean, that was unexpected. I never had the opportunity to play against Kirby, but I got a chance to get to know him over the years, going to Minnesota, going to his pool tournament up in Minnesota in the off season.
And thing I remember most about Kirby is one of my first foundation dinners in Kalamazoo. It was fortunate enough for us that he came out there and support us.
I really didn't know him that well. Kirby said, anytime you need me, man, I'm here for you. It says a lot about him as a person. You know, everybody always talks about Kirby's on-the-field performances, but I think, you know, how he was, how he treated people off the field meant even more.
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I was fortunate enough to play with Kirby. And I'll never forget, 18 years old, wide-eyed, playing the Twins at the Kingdome in Seattle. And I was about a hundred feet away from him. He goes, Come here young man. You're the guy that everybody's been talking about this and that. I can even remember going home that night and couldn't even go to sleep because Kirby acknowledged me.
And again, I had the opportunity to visit with him in the off season in his pool tournament. And, you know, it was one of the saddest days in baseball to me because what a better example for anybody who strives to be a great player and a great person.
Q. I just have a question for both of you about the timing of this whole World Baseball Classic. Would it be better if it were sometime in the fall or after the World Series or what are your thoughts?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Well, if it was in November, they'd be talking about why wasn't it in March? And if it was in July, they would say why isn't it in November? So I don't think any timing is perfect. I think there's an argument that in November, why would pitchers after throwing 250 innings or 230 innings, what they put themselves through, extend their arms.
I think it's a great concept. We're here. I think everybodys' very excited to be here, and I think from watching the Dominican and Venezuela, the excitement is a lot more than what people are giving credit for.
Q. What about you?
DEREK JETER: I think regardless when you have it, like Alex said, people are going to question it. I don't know if there's an ideal time for it. This is the first time out. I'm sure there's going to be some bumps in the road. You learn from it, but I really don't know when else you can do it.
Q. Do you think about possible injuries, perhaps being more at risk, or also just the fact that you have some time off after?
DEREK JETER: Not always about injuries. People get injured in spring training as well. That's part of playing baseball. Coming out here in the beginning, you're going to have soreness. People are going to get hurt. I don't really think it matters if you get hurt here or in spring training. It's still not a good thing. We don't really focus on injuries.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.

End of FastScripts...

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