After Jedd Gyorko clubbed a career-high 30 homers with a 24.4 percent HR/FB in 2016, it was wise to expect some regression in 2017. Sure enough, his power fell back more in line with career levels. What wasn't expected was a spike in batting average on balls in play (BABIP), resulting in a career-best .272 average. It's interesting that Gyorko hit only nine doubles in 2016, as compared to 21 two-baggers with 20 homers last season. When everything evens out, Gyorko's baseline is in between his 2016 and 2017 campaigns, though he did add a handful of steals to his ledger last year. Heading into 2017, one of Gyorko's assets was multiple position eligibility, however he enters 2018 only good at third base. There have been rumors that the Cardinals are looking for an impact bat, possibly at the hot corner, so Gyorko could return to a super-utility role. He's never played more than 128 games and is better in NL-only than mixed formats.
Gyorko, who went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout in Sunday's 4-3 Grapefruit League win over the Nationals, is hitting just .111 over 18 at-bats in seven spring games. The veteran infielder has only hit safely in one of those contests, a March 3 exhibition against the Braves. Gyorko set career highs in batting average (.272), OBP (.341), OPS (.813) and RBI (67) over his 481 plate appearances across 125 games, and he'll likely back up multiple spots around the diamond in the coming season while attempting to build on those numbers.
Gyorko is expected to make appearances at third base and second base in Grapefruit League games this spring, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The arrival of Jose Martinez in 2017 leaves the Cardinals with a few options to fill out their infield each day, and one of those options includes moving Matt Carpenter back to third base. If that happens, Gyorko could play second, especially if the Cards are facing a left-handed starter. Ultimately, injuries may dictate how manager Mike Matheny distributes playing time, but Gyorko's versatility should help him find another 400-450 plate appearances this season, even if it comes at two or three different positions, as he could make the occasional appearance at shortstop if needed.
Gyorko is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Brewers. The Cardinals are emptying their bench, so Gyorko will find himself out of the starting lineup for the third straight day. Aledmys Diaz takes over at the hot corner, batting sixth.
Gyorko is out of Saturday's lineup against the Brewers. He will sit for a second straight game as the Cardinals look to get some of their younger players reps with just two games remaining this season. Aledmys Diaz will start at the hot corner and hit seventh.
Gyorko is not in the lineup against the Brewers on Friday, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Gyorko retreats to the bench for the first time since last Friday, as Aledmys Diaz draws a start at the hot corner in his stead. Over the course of the 2017 season, Gyorko has slashed .272/.341/.472 with 20 home runs and 67 RBI.
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