MLB Team Report - New York Yankees - INSIDE PITCH

BOSTON -- As farewell performances go, Derek Jeter knows he'll be hard-pressed to top what happened Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

"That's probably as good as it gets," he said Friday.

So why is Jeter planning to serve as the Yankees' designated hitter Saturday and Sunday at Fenway Park?

To hear Jeter tell it, his decision to play in the final two games of the season (he didn't play in Friday night's 3-2 victory over the Red Sox) was made out of respect to the Sox and their fans, who have played a significant role in his career over the past two decades.

Since Jeter broke into the majors in 1995, the Yankees haven't had a bigger rival than the Red Sox. And there hasn't been a player who symbolizes the Yankees more than Jeter.

"If it was anywhere else," Jeter said of this weekend's series, "I don't know if I'd even play."

Jeter recalled the treatment he has received throughout his career from Red Sox fans, chuckling over how he feared he was going to get ripped apart when a cab driver dropped him off at the wrong Fenway entrance before the 1999 All-Star Game.

"I was out of the car walking to the stadium and I thought they were going to kill me, they were all over me. So it's funny how things have changed."

So much so, in fact, that Jeter walked around Boston after having lunch Friday and received congratulations from fans on the street.

"People were just saying congratulations on the career and that I'm a Red Sox fan, I hate the Yankees but I respect you," Jeter said. "I think after they won (in 2004), I don't want to say they softened up so don't say I said they softened up. But I'd say they're a little bit kinder. And thanks. Thanks for that."


MLB Team Report - New York Yankees - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 82-77

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Yankees (RHP Mashiro Tanaka, 13-4, 2.47 ERA) vs. Red Sox (RHP Joe Kelly, 3-2, 4.00 ERA)


--RHP Mashiro Tanaka is scheduled to start the middle game of the three-game set on Saturday. It'll be his second start after he was placed on the DL with right elbow inflammation on July 9. In his last start, Sept. 21 against Toronto, he gave up one run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

--SS Derek Jeter asked for the night off for the first time in his career after his memorable walk-off single in his final game at Yankee Stadium. "I don't know if I could play tonight if I was playing tonight," he said. "Last night was as special as it gets." But, he said in respect for the rivalry that he'd play this weekend. "If it was anywhere else, I don't know if I'd play," he said.