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Anna happy to be competing in Yankees camp

Anna happy to be competing in Yankees camp

TAMPA, Fla. -- Dean Anna is attending his first big league camp, and the Yankees infielder has been taking advantage of his front-row seat for the opening act of Derek Jeter's farewell season.

"I definitely keep an eye on him," Anna said. "I just like to see how he goes about his business and how he separates everything from his game. You just watch those guys, and they give you a few tips about how to approach the game a little bit. You can't ask for a better situation than to be around these guys."

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Anna, 27, was acquired by the Yankees from the Padres last November and has flashed signs of a live bat. He led the Pacific Coast League with a .331 average last season at Triple-A Tucson, ranking second in the league with 38 doubles and fourth with a .410 on-base percentage.

Those numbers did not earn Anna a late-season callup from the Padres, and Anna -- a one-time 26th round Draft selection -- said that it was disappointing to not have that solid season recognized.

"It was a little tough," Anna said. "You work for them for a while and you thought you did enough to get a crack, but it was just a numbers game. It just wasn't meant to be, I guess. I'm just happy that I'm over here now. It wasn't the right spot for me over there."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Anna has "played very well" thus far in camp, also rattling off the names of Eduardo Nunez, Yangervis Solarte and Scott Sizemore as players who have been fighting for attention around the infield.

"It's going to be a tough spot at the end for me if they keep all playing the way they're playing," Girardi said.

Anna said that he recently spoke with veteran Kelly Johnson about keeping the proper mindset through camp.

"It's so hard. You want to get a hit so bad. You want to do everything so bad," Anna said. "I just need to keep playing my game. Honestly, if I make the team or I don't make the team, I need to make sure I'm ready for the season no matter what. That's the bottom line.

"[Johnson] was telling me, 'Don't press, make sure you play your game, don't try to become a home run hitter.' That was a good thing. I got to talk with him a little bit about it, and it was nice to pick his brain."

Anna, who was scheduled to replace Jeter at shortstop in the late innings of Friday's game against the Tigers, said that he senses an opportunity because the Yankees have been worked him out at second base, shortstop and third base this spring.

"It's definitely a good thing," Anna said. "I think they're looking at a lot of guys in the infield. It feels good to be here and just have a chance, you know what I mean? It feels good. That's all you really want."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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