Jeter visits with Captain's Camp prospects

Jeter visits with Captain's Camp prospects

TAMPA, Fla. -- You can't hold Captain's Camp without a captain, and as the Yankees' four-week program for 20 of their top prospects winds down, Derek Jeter visited on Monday evening to treat some of the team's brightest young talent to a surprise dinner out on the town.

This marked the second straight year that the retired shortstop has entertained the Yanks' top Minor Leaguers. Vice president of player development Gary Denbo said that Jeter shared some of his experiences from coming up under manager Joe Torre at the beginning of the 1990s dynasty.

"Derek was talking about how he went up and saw some of the players when he first got to the Major Leagues," Denbo said. "After sitting there watching them when he first arrived, as he was looking around, he thought, 'I can play here, and I belong here.'"

That's a lesson that the Yankees are eager to share with their top talent, especially after prospects like Greg Bird and Luis Severino made an impact at the Major League level last season.

The Captain's Camp program is in its second season, and it focuses on teaching leadership, respect for the game and carrying a team-first attitude. Denbo said that it came as a result of Jeter's retirement following the 2014 season.

"With Jeter retiring, he had kind of filled that role quietly and led by example, and quietly in the clubhouse took care of issues that arose," Denbo said. "We were sitting there thinking about, 'Who's the next guy?'"

The Yanks hope they are setting their prospects up to take that leap. According to Denbo, Jeter answered questions and offered anecdotes from his early days in pinstripes, including the tearful telephone call in the summer of 1992 when a homesick 18-year-old Jeter wondered if he had made a mistake by signing that first professional contract.

Of course, 3,465 regular-season hits and five World Series rings later, it seemed to work out fine. Denbo hopes that by introducing the prospects to players like Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia and Alfonso Soriano, it will help these potential future Yankees pass those lessons on when they scatter to join their respective farm teams.

"I think those qualities, a lot of our players had during the '90s when we were winning championships," Denbo said. "Hopefully, at the end of this, our guys will have some of those qualities and have an understanding of how to lead and how to hold each other accountable, how to play the game the right way and do everything with respect and some integrity. That's what we're looking for."

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