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Jeter fine waiting to talk new deal

TAMPA — It's their policy and they're sticking to it.

And Derek Jeter's not complaining.

Addressing his contract situation for the first, and he says only, time this year, the shortstop said Wednesday that he's okay with the Yankees letting his contract expire before negotiating a new deal.

Closer Mariano Rivera and manager Joe Girardi are also in the final years of deals.

"I don't have a problem with it," said Jeter, who is in the last year of a 10-year, $189 million contract. "The Yankees, that's their policy, that's the new policy that they have. They have every right to do that. I signed a long deal, I'm still under contract with that deal, but they have the right to make any rule they want."

Jeter's agent, Casey Close, contacted general manager Brian Cashman in the offseason to discuss the contract.

"Casey reached out, we had a quick conversation," Cashman said. "It was like, 'Hey, how do you want to handle it? You want to handle it early, handle it late?' I restated our position, it was no big deal. My sense on the phone was, that's fine."

Jays: Wells in charge

DUNEDIN — Vernon Wells says he's finally prepared to assume the leadership mantle for the youth-laden Blue Jays.

"I remember being here and Carlos (Delgado) and those guys being here, and I was a young guy trying to make the ballclub," Wells said, "and now it's completely changed."

The 12-year veteran had completed his third season as Toronto's full-time centerfielder in 2004 when Delgado, the position players' clubhouse leader, departed via free agency after 12 years with the team.

He said with RHP Roy Halladay around, he still wasn't quite ready to be the leader. But Halladay was traded this offseason, and Wells, 31 and the now team's longest tenured player, plans to be more vocal.

"It's a fun role to be in," he said. "Guys look at you to do the right things and how to be successful at this level. It's a role I'm looking forward to."

Phils: Goals set high

CLEARWATER — Ryan Howard said it first. Cole Hamels and Jayson Werth followed. Other players agreed.

The Phillies feel they have some "unfinished business" after falling two wins shy of repeating as World Series champions.

"Last year didn't go the way we wanted it to," Howard said. "Hopefully everyone comes in here with the mind-set of unfinished business, everyone gets locked in and we have a good spring training and carry it out to the season."

The two-time defending NL champions are still a week away from their first exhibition game against Florida State.

"We're going for the jugular," manager Charlie Manuel joked when asked if regulars will play against the Seminoles.

FAST FACTS

Yankees

Where: George Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive,

Tampa

Phillies

Where: Carpenter Complex and Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Blue Jays

First full-squad workout: Friday

Where: Englebert Complex, 1700 Solon Ave., Dunedin

Jeter fine waiting to talk new deal 02/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:21pm]

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