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Joe Namath calls Derek Jeter an ‘angel’

Associated Press

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Broadway Joe was filled with praise for Mr. November.

Joe Namath says Yankees captain Derek Jeter is an “angel” for his life on and off the field.

The quarterback was at New York’s spring training game Monday in Tampa, Fla., against the Washington Nationals to throw the ceremonial first pitch. Wearing a Yankees No. 12 uniform, Namath took out the starting lineup before the game to the umpires.

“Over all the years, I’ve learned to respect what teammates and coaches have to say about the guys they work with, and I’ve only heard wonderful compliments about him,” Namath said. “And then we get to see him in person, or on the television, or how he conducts himself away from the game, or off the field. The scrutiny that he’s had over the years, and I can’t imagine how the guy could be an angel like this over the years. He’s to be respected for every phase of his life it seems.

“Many of us fell short in some of that, but learned to bounce back,” Namath added. “It’s human to err, and I know about that. We do our best to come back. Derek hasn’t made many errors that I’ve been able to witness.”

When asked what Namath’s comments meant to him, Jeter smiled and responded: “Puts a lot of pressure on me.”

Jeter caught Namath’s pitch.

“He’s special,” Namath said. “Some of the things in life that athletes, people in the public eye go through, I can relate to a bit. But his career, where he’s been, what he’s done, I can’t relate to all that.”

More baseball

• Former Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas toured the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and said he was ecstatic. He says his election still hasn’t sunk in yet but he feels “very, very blessed in this moment in time. You have to pinch yourself. I’m very fortunate, especially first ballot. You’re not prepared for this until it happens.” The 6-foot-5, 240-pound former slugger received 83.7 percent of the vote from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and will join Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine at the induction ceremonies this summer.

• San Diego Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin is going to be out two to three months after rupturing his left biceps tendon during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday. The Padres revealed the severity of the injury on Monday. Maybin was injured while diving for a ball hit into the right-center gap and came up in obvious discomfort. The 26-year-old Maybin spent some time on the disabled list in 2013 and had surgery to repair his right wrist late in the season.


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