"Didi is unbelievable, as good a shortstop as I've seen," first baseman Mark Teixeira said, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. "And I'm not overexaggerating."
Teixeira was Alex Rodriguez's teammate back 2003 with the Rangers, when Rodriguez was highly touted for his defensive skillset at shortstop. When Rosenthal relayed Teixeira's comments to Rodriguez, he said: "He has a rare combination of speed and explosiveness. But what you don't see is an incredibly strong arm that is so accurate. That combination is lethal," Rodriguez said.
"[Gregorius] has made plays from the hole, from his back foot, throwing the ball 90 mph across the diamond from his back foot," Rodriguez said. "You don't see that. It also makes it a lot easier for your third baseman to play third base."
Still, manager Joe Girardi doesn't plan on changing the way his club uses defensive shifts based on Gregorius' range.
"We'll still shift. We'll still go according to the charts," Girardi said.
Gregorius, 25, was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a three-team trade this offseason. He hit .226 with six home runs and 27 RBI in 270 plate appearances in 2014. He has a .680 OPS in 724 career plate appearances, including a .490 OPS against left-handed pitching.
"He has a chance to be a special defender," third baseman Chase Headley said, per MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. "He has all the tools -- the athleticism, the instincts, the arm, everything, tools-wise, that you want to see in a shortstop."
Headley said that Gregorius gives him an extra two steps worth of infield that he doesn't have to worry about, as his range will reach balls that otherwise would be Headley's responsibility.
"I don't hear a lot of people talking about it, but I'm sure people are going to realize how good defensively we're going to be," infield coach Joe Espada said. "If we stay healthy, we're going to help this team win some games with our gloves."
"I'm not replacing him," Gregorius said of Jeter's shadow. "It's not like he's here and playing a different position. I just have to play my game."
Two of Gregorius' at bats on Tuesday were against lefthanders. He hit .184 against southpaws with the Diamondbacks last year, but the Yankees aren't ready to say he's a platoon player.
"I want to see him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "Obviously, a lot of times you can get pegged early on in your career; I've seen it happen to a lot of players. We have a lot of confidence in Didi, and we want him to get at-bats."
Yankees hitting coach Jeff Pentland has Gregorius standing taller in the box and remaining more closed, which he thinks will help against lefthanders.
"To be honest, it's the only way you're going to get better," Gregorius said. "You're not getting better if you're not doing work. For me, facing all these lefties means I'll stay in there and get more comfortable against lefties."
Gregorius has a career average of just .184 against left-handed pitchers.
"I want to see him against lefties," Girardi said. "Obviously you'd love to have an everyday shortstop. Sometimes when you start platooning, that relationship that is built in the infield becomes not as tight. You want to have an understanding of what everyone is doing."
"I personally can't worry about a shadow of Derek's somehow affecting the next guy," Cashman said. "All you can do is tell the next guy, 'You're not Derek, so don't even waste your time trying to be. Just be the best you can be.’ It’s going to fall short of anything Derek did, because he’s one of the greatest players of all-time."
The 25-year-old hit .226 with six home runs and 27 RBI in 270 plate appearances in 2014 and Cashman likes what's he's seeing.
"He's a developing guy," Cashman said. "He's definitely not a finished product. He's got a big ceiling. We'll see if we can together reach that ceiling."
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|9/28/2014 vs St. Louis|
|vs St. Louis||9||4||0||.444||.444||.444|
|vs Wainwright (Career)||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 5 || 6 |
| 7 || 8 |
| 9 |
| 10 |
| 12 |
| 13 |
| 14 |
| 15 |
| 16 || 17 |
|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2012||AA-Pensacola Blue Wahoo||81||316||45||88||11||8||1||31||29||49||3||4||.344||.373||.278|
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