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TAMPA, Fla. — Derek Jeter spoke for 25 minutes, 44 seconds and answered 26 questions about his decision to retire at the end of this season.

He said “it’s time,” “the right time” and “the time is now.” Twice more he added “the time is right.”

Jeter will be leaving the majors the way he entered: accessible, yet opaque; approachable, but distant.

So why is Jeter retiring?

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“He just said ‘it’s time,’ but he didn’t really say,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman concluded after Jeter reported to spring training Wednesday for his 20th and final major-league season.

One week earlier, the Yankees captain surprised and saddened teammates with his announcement on his Facebook page.

“You can’t do this forever. I’d like to, but you can’t do it forever,” he said to a crowded room filled with Yankees management and players in addition to media.

Jeter, who turns 40 in June, was limited to 17 games last season after breaking his left ankle in the 2012 AL Championship Series opener.

“It wasn’t fun because I wasn’t playing. I think it forced me to start thinking about, well, how long do I want to do this? And that’s how I came to my decision,” he said. “It just became a job last year.”

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Starter Homer Bailey agreed to a $105 million, six-year contract that avoids arbitration and will help the Cincinnati Reds with their cash flow by deferring some of the salary.

Bailey was the final major-league player left in arbitration this year and reached the agreement a day before his scheduled hearing.

The 27-year-old was coming off a season that included his second no-hitter.


David Ortiz hopes to get a one-year contract extension “pretty soon,” and Boston Red Sox owner John Henry would like to fulfill his designated hitter’s desire to retire as a member of the team.

• Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez and the Baltimore Orioles finalized a $50 million, four-year contract.

• Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez may miss the first few games of spring training after having a noncancerous polyp removed from his colon.

• The Atlanta Braves extended the contracts of general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez.

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