Didi Gregorius Is Yanks' Surprising Cleanup Hitter

By Iseman, Chris | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), September 20, 2017 | Go to article overview

Didi Gregorius Is Yanks' Surprising Cleanup Hitter


Iseman, Chris, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


NEW YORK - Of all the hitters the Yankees had at the start of the season, Didi Gregorius would've been considered an unlikely option to ever bat cleanup consistently this season.

Gregorius spent most of last season batting in the bottom half of the lineup, and that's pretty much where he was expected to slot in this year, also.

But that's changed.

Gregorius has shown plenty of power and production this season, which led manager Joe Girardi to start batting Gregorius fourth. Entering Tuesday, the shortstop was batting .292 with a career-high 24 home runs and 81 RBI.

And he has that many home runs despite missing most of April because of a strained right shoulder.

"I'm not so sure I envisioned him hitting fourth in our lineup," Girardi said. "We envisioned that he was going to impact the baseball.

"We envisioned that he would hit some home runs. I don't know if any one of us put a number on it, but what I've seen is kind of what you've seen from a lot of players. They just continue to mature and get better and understand who they are. Didi has done a really good job of that."

Where Gregorius bats in the order doesn't really affect him.

"Nothing has changed," Gregorius said. "Same approach, same everything. I'm just trying to be the same guy since the day I got here."

Still, his home-run total does come as a surprise.

Even to Gregorius.

"Yeah, it kind of does," Gregorius said. "Mostly I'm trying to hit line drives all over the place. …

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