Jeter's been swinging hot bat of late

Jeter's been swinging hot bat of late

CHICAGO -- Derek Jeter doesn't just continue to move up the all-time hits list. His batting average continues to climb, too.

In 24 games since coming off the disabled list with a right calf strain -- and sitting six hits away from 3,000 upon activation -- the Yankees' shortstop entered play Thursday batting .333 with a .380 on-base percentage. Heading into the series finale against the White Sox, Jeter's batting average sat at .280 -- the highest it had been since May 10.

Joe Girardi has noticed a change in him.

"Sometimes, we don't always understand what a player is going through," the Yankees' skipper said, "and maybe that 3,000 was more of a weight than any of us thought, because he's been so good at handling everything that has been thrown his way, but none of us have ever been in that position. Maybe it was a bigger weight than we thought."

At the plate, Girardi says Jeter has been "driving the ball a lot better. He's pulling more balls. He looks a lot different to me."

Jeter had a 5-for-6 game on Wednesday, one that gave him 3,027 career hits and moved him past Hall of Famer Lou Brock for sole possession of 23rd place on the all-time list. Jeter now has three multi-hit games in his last four contests.

Jeter still has some pretty drastic lefty-righty splits -- batting .362 against lefties and .251 against righties -- but he has set aside any questions regarding his age and productivity. At least for now.

"He's been great," Girardi said. "And Derek's not a guy I would bet against, because of the way he goes about his business and the pride that he has in his job."