7/7/2014 7:10 P.M. ET
Jeter reflects on first Opening Day in Cleveland
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Derek Jeter will always have fond memories of Cleveland. Players often can recall with vivid detail their first Opening Day. For the long-time Yankees shortstop, his first season opener was spent on the shores of Lake Erie.
And it was cold.
"Your first Opening Day is pretty memorable, pretty special," Jeter said of his first game in Cleveland in 1996. "I was excited for that day. We got snowed out the day before, so we had to wait a while. It seemed like we had to wait forever to get that first one underway."
Prior to Monday's tilt at Progressive Field, the 40-year-old Jeter spent time reflecting on that game -- one in which he belted his first career home run -- due to it being his last career trip to Cleveland. The Indians plan on honoring Jeter's career during this four-game set and the club plans on presenting the shortstop with a gift on Thursday.
Indians first baseman Nick Swisher -- a teammate of Jeter's with the Yankees from 2009-12 -- said he has nothing but respect for the Yankees' captain.
"He was one of my favorite teammates," Swisher said. "He taught me a lot. Just to be able to be over there and be around a winner like that, I was able to take a lot of things I learned from there and bring them over here to a new organization. Any time you're losing a guy like that, you're talking about one of the best ambassadors that this game's ever had.
"All you've got to do is say, 'No. 2,' and everybody on the planet knows who you're talking about. For us, we're going to have a lot of fun with this. He definitely deserves everything he gets. We've got a little something up our sleeve for him."
Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who faced Jeter often as part of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry during the manager's time in Boston, also praised the shortstop on Monday.
"Derek's been probably one of the very best faces of our game," Francona said. "But the game has a really good way of moving on. The younger guys grow up and, maybe nobody's able to take Derek Jeter's place, but they can represent the game kind of like the way he did. I think that's what's great about our game."
Quote to note
"That Final Vote boils down to how big your organization is and how big your fan base is. So, for us, man, we want to get the word out there. We want to let everybody know that our man Klubot should be there."
--Swisher, on Corey Kluber being in the All-Star Final Vote
• By designating George Kottaras for assignment, the Indians removed their backup catcher from the roster. Francona said Carlos Santana would be the backup to Yan Gomes for at least Monday, but indicated that Cleveland might have another roster move coming. Triple-A catcher Roberto Perez (.305 average with 20 extra-base hits and 43 RBIs in 53 games) is an internal option.
"Moving forward, we'll see," Francona said on Monday. "We may have some moving parts. We'll see. I don't know that we need to do anything tonight. We'll kind of see how it goes."
• Indians outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who injured his right knee on May 14 and is currently on the 60-day disabled list, remains limited to rehab work. Cleveland announced Monday that Morgan is scheduled to get a second opinion on his knee this week with Dr. Christopher Parker in Santa Barbara, Calif.
"I don't know if it's a setback," said Francona, referring to the news on Morgan. "I think he just wants to get a second opinion, which they're always encouraged to do."
• Prior to Monday's game, the Indians paid tribute to the team's late television and radio personality, Mike Hegan, who passed away in December. Prior to his career in broadcasting, Hegan was signed by the Yankees in 1961 and spent parts of three seasons with New York. Hegan spent 23 years in the Cleveland organization.