CHICAGO -- Yankees captain Derek Jeter shrugged off an ESPN commentator's suggestion on Wednesday that his performance this season may have received artificial assistance, calling the statements "unfortunate."
ESPN voice Skip Bayless insinuated on the "First Take" program that Jeter may not be completely clean, saying that he has been "shocked" by the 38-year-old's production and that he "would have to be sight and hearing impaired not to wonder" how Jeter has done it.
"How could I not wonder, 'Is he using something?'" Bayless said. "If you're Derek Jeter, would you think about using HGH right now? Because I would. How would you not? Would you not think about it?"
Jeter had not heard Bayless' comments but laughed out loud when they were relayed by reporters before Wednesday's game against the White Sox.
"What do you want me to say?" Jeter said at U.S. Cellular Field. "I ain't getting involved with this, man. You can say whatever you want to say now, huh? There's no repercussions.
"That's the unfortunate thing, you know what I'm saying? Whenever you have people that any time you bring something like this to light with guys that are doing things, it's like, now you have everybody questioning everything. That's the unfortunate thing. Maybe Skip should be tested."
Jeter has long been a vocal opponent of performance-enhancing drug use, and his father, Charles, is a substance-abuse counselor. In 2009, as the Yankees reacted to Alex Rodriguez's admission to performance-enhancing drug use, Jeter flatly denied using steroids or any performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
On Wednesday, Bayless' suggestion was challenged by co-host Stephen A. Smith, and Bayless later acknowledged that he actually has no knowledge of Jeter's regimen.
"I am not saying he uses a thing; I have no idea," Bayless said. "But within the confines of his sport, it is fair for all of us. In fact, you're remiss if you don't at least think about this."
Personal accolades fine, but Jeter wants to win
CHICAGO -- Derek Jeter's career has been filled with honors and accolades, but the Yankees' captain has never brought home a Most Valuable Player Award. He has some wondering if this might be the year.
The American League presents stiff competition for the honor -- including the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera, the Rangers' Josh Hamilton and the Angels' Mike Trout -- but Jeter's performance at age 38 likely will earn him some space on a few ballots.
"Everyone would like to win an award like that," Jeter said. "You ask any player in baseball -- they would like to win an award like that. But I don't think you can allow yourself to think that."
Jeter, who entered Wednesday batting .324 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs, said he is happy with some things that have happened this year but that it's too early for him to judge his season.
"It's not over; I mean, you know me," Jeter said. "We're trying to win games. We've lost these first two here. That's the only thing I'm thinking about -- trying to win today. Those other things, I don't let them enter my mind."
Jeter has bristled at the suggestion that he needed to prove people wrong after enduring a down 2010 campaign that featured some career-low numbers.
"I hit .270, man. You know?" Jeter said. "Sorry. One time I hit .270, and it's like it was the end of my career. You're going to struggle. You're going to have good years, you're going to have bad years. But you always have to have confidence that you can play."
Pettitte strong after session on flat ground
CHICAGO -- Andy Pettitte emerged from a throwing session with a smile on Wednesday, pleased by his progress as the rehabbing Yankees left-hander continues to eye September action.
Pettitte said he threw about 55 pitches on flat ground at U.S. Cellular Field, including 15 with him lifting his leg and wearing spikes, as the 40-year-old moves closer to ascending a pitcher's mound.
"I don't think they're going to let me get on a mound yet," Pettitte said. "I think probably just a little bit more pushing off, a few more pitches and stuff like that.
"I probably didn't even push off 100 percent today. I know I was pushing off harder than I was the other day. I'm still being cautious. I knew they weren't going to let me get on the mound on this trip, so I just don't want to have anything to set me back."
Pettitte plans to throw again on Saturday in Cleveland and is encouraged as he continues to come back from a fractured left fibula suffered in a June 27 start against the Indians.
"I feel good," Pettitte said. "I'm trying to draw a fine line here, because obviously I'm not completely healed or they would tell me I could get on a mound right now, I guess. There's no sense even trying to explain it. I wish I could tell you that I could go out there and run sprints and run around and get on a mound right this second, but I'm definitely not quite there yet."
Jeter said he ribbed Joe Torre after tying his former manager with his 252nd career homer on Tuesday.
"I told him I should have been hitting fourth all those years he was here," Jeter said.
Rehabbing left-hander Pedro Feliciano turned in his fourth scoreless inning on Wednesday for the Gulf Coast Yankees and continues to eye a possible September return after missing all of 2011 with a left shoulder capsule tear.
On this date in 1939 at Comiskey Park, the Yankees won a night game for the first time in franchise history, defeating the White Sox, 14-5.