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CNN Today

Spring Training for New York Yankees Begins

Aired February 15, 2001 - 1:40 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Now, in the middle of the winter, there is the promise of spring: Baseball is on the way. Pitchers and catchers began reporting to spring training camps in Florida and Arizona today.

John Giannone of CNN/Sports Illustrated is at the Yankees camp in Tampa.

Tough duty again, John.

JOHN GIANNONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, it is, Lou. Yes, this officially was reporting day for the Yankees. Pitchers and catchers arrived for the three-time defending World Series champions. They arrived here this morning, took their physicals, then went out and played a round of golf.

Among the other position players who are here working out early: shortstop Derek Jeter -- he, of course, the proud owner of that 10- year, $189 million contract that he signed earlier this month. Jeter is entering his sixth year with the Yankees. He already has already four World Series rings, but he said to me today that his desire for another ring is still strong and his optimism for this team is higher than ever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEREK JETER, NEW YORK YANKEES: To win year after year, you know, we have a special team because, you know, when you look at free agency in all sports, you have so many players moving teams that we've been fortunate basically to have the core group of our team, in fact, since '96.

And we've able to make great acquisitions like Knoblauch and Roger Clemens. This year, we get Mike Mussina, we got justice. And these are guys that are hungry for rings as well. And you know, as long as we stay healthy, we're going to have a strong team, but it's not easy to win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIANNONE: Now, there was one no-show here at Yankee camp here today: Relief pitcher Mariano Rivera was not here. He has the flu. He missed his flight from Panama, but Yankees manager Joe Torre said it's an excusable absence, and Rivera will be here on Friday. That's all for now from the Yankee complex in Tampa. I'm John Giannone -- back to Atlanta.

WATERS: And John, isn't it unusually early for string training camp? I don't recall February being a starting point.

GIANNONE: It usually is February, the second to third week for pitchers and catchers, also some injured players who missed time last year with some injuries, like Chuck Knoblauch. They come down here early as well. And Derek Jeter lives in the Tampa area, so he's been working out here since January. But certainly pitchers and catchers: They come down here in the middle of February.

WATERS: OK, lucky them. John Giannone, lucky you -- with CNN/Sports Illustrated.

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