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Derek Jeter Resurgent?

Derek Jeter: Elvis is back in the building? (AP)

After Derek Jeter's 1-for-7 on September 10, Derek Jeter finally turned to Kevin Long for help. As with Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson, Long was apparently able to get Jeter to quiet down his swing. For Jeter, the result has been a 12-game hitting streak. Not including the September 10 game, after which Jeter sat for a day while working with the hitting coach, the Captain has hit .356/.444/.444 in his last eleven games. Indicative of Jeter's improved approach is a slightly increased walk rate. The only thing really missing is power--Jeter has one home run in his last 57 games. This is important not because Jeter has ever been a huge slugger (although he's no punch-and-judy hitter) but because it would be an indicator that he's truly gotten away from hitting grounders, grounders, and nothing but grounders.

There are few things in baseball more depressing than a great star losing it. Jeter's performance this season has been so poor by his standards that it was tough to avoid feeling that he had lost something at 36. We're so deeply in small-sample territory that there is no way to be certain if what we're seeing is evidence that Jeter hasn't aged or if it's just some kind of fluke. Even if he keeps on hitting right through the end of the season, there is no way to be sure. The previous 650-odd plate appearances still have to count against him. That said, it is so very tempting to believe it is true.