Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Didi Gregorius Is Raring to Get Back out on Field

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Didi Gregorius Is Raring to Get Back out on Field

Article excerpt

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Ask Didi Gregorius how anxious he is to begin a minor league rehab assignment, and he'll tell you he was ready yesterday.

"I've been trying to get games underway since April," the Yankees shortstop said with a smile on Friday. "But it is what it is."

"He's been saying that since spring training – 'Let's go, I'm ready to go,'" said manager Aaron Boone.

From here, at least, Gregorius and the Yankees can see the end of his endless rehab from Tommy John surgery and the real beginning of his road back to the Bronx.

Gregorius, 29, is scheduled to play his first extended spring training game, as a designated hitter, on May 20.

"That idea is exciting," Boone said. "Just knowing how good a player he is and how important he is to our team."

Just seeing Gregorius in the clubhouse again, engaging with his teammates, "it gets you excited to think about what's ahead."

Gregorius has been rehabbing at the Yankees' minor league complex at Tampa since the season opened in New York.

As for when he'll be allowed to play defensively, Gregorius isn't sure.

"(That's) one thing I'll get on them (about) soon," said Gregorius, after working out briefly at his position before Friday night's series opener between the Yankees and AL East-leading Rays.

After making some soft, initial tosses to first base, Gregorius cranked up the intensity on his fielding drills and made some strong, off-balance throws from shortstop.

"Yes," Gregorius says his arm feels as strong as it would during a normal spring training.

Seven months since the surgery to his throwing elbow, an injury suffered during AL Division Series Game 2 at Boston, Gregorius has already cut loose some strong throws.

"It's been fun. It feels pretty good," Gregorius said. "Since I go to 135 (feet, throwing long toss), it's been really good, no pain, nothing. That's what I want."

During his batting practice sessions, "I don't feel anything while I'm hitting," said Gregorius, whose lefty bat has averaged 24 homers and 81 RBI with a . …

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