LAS VEGAS -- As Derek Jeter pondered the prospect of new teammate CC Sabathia's imminent delivery Tuesday, he offered a valuable lesson in geography.
Sabathia's avowed preference to stay in the West?
"You can stay out there for six months in the offseason and still be a West Coast guy, right?" Jeter quipped as the Yankees primed for their latest elite-talent acquisition.
Out of respect for the process -- the Yankees aren't expected to formally announce Sabathia's signing until after the pitcher undergoes a physical exam and contract language is finalized -- Jeter declined to get too specific. He kept referring to "if" Sabathia does indeed land in the Bronx.
"All I can say is how great a pitcher he is," Jeter said. "Any team in baseball would love to have him. He's an intimidating factor on the mound."
Speaking after a press conference to promote the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Jeter also discussed a recent telephone conversation with Sabathia that most everybody but Jeter viewed as a recruiting call.
"I don't ever try to sell New York," Jeter said. "He wanted to talk. It wasn't a recruiting call. In free agency, you have to look at your options and make the best decision."
Jeter said that part of the reason many players with families express skepticism about living in New York is because they're concerned about the city, or worried about their families living in the city. Jeter noted that there are plenty of places to live in New Jersey, and he no doubt told Sabathia as much.
As captain of the Yankees, Jeter has an added responsibility, and, he said, "I take it seriously. I don't tell everyone (about the phone calls). I don't even know how this initially came up. My whole philosophy is, you don't sell New York."
When asked what makes Sabathia so difficult on hitters, Jeter replied: "Where do you start? He throws in the upper-90s, he's a big guy, a power pitcher, he's got a great slider. He knows what he can do. He's a great athlete. The list goes on and on."
Jeter also thinks Sabathia is strong enough mentally to handle New York.
"The only times players tend to struggle is when they put pressure on themselves," Jeter said. "It's still the same game in New York, Tampa, Boston or wherever. There's just more scrutiny.
"I don't think he'll have any problem."