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Didi Q&A: Yankees shortstop talks hot start

MLB.com @ladsonbill24

In a recent sitdown with MLB.com at Yankee Stadium, shortstop Didi Gregorius answered a variety questions on subjects ranging from his hot start at the plate to his ability as an artist.

MLB.com: When I watch you play on the baseball field, you seem to have a lot of fun. What does baseball mean to you?

In a recent sitdown with MLB.com at Yankee Stadium, shortstop Didi Gregorius answered a variety questions on subjects ranging from his hot start at the plate to his ability as an artist.

MLB.com: When I watch you play on the baseball field, you seem to have a lot of fun. What does baseball mean to you?

Gregorius: It's a family thing for me. I grew up playing the game with my dad, my brother and my mom. It reminds me of the old days. It's kind of like that. I always had a love for the game. Nothing has changed for me.

MLB.com: I noticed on your Instagram account, you say, "Only happiness and smiles allowed." Why do you have that philosophy?

Gregorius: You don't want people to be mad all the time. You want everybody to be happy. You have to do something different. Life is already hard by itself. Imagine playing baseball (while upset).There is a lot of stuff going on. I try to stay relaxed and be happy to play the game. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

Video: MIN@NYY: Gregorius homers in his fourth straight game

MLB.com: You play in a city where there is a lot of pressure. You replaced a legend in Derek Jeter. Why hasn't the pressure of the city bothered you?

Gregorius: Why do you call it the pressure of the city?

MLB.com: There are some players who can't play in a big city like New York.

Gregorius: I don't look at it as pressure of the city. I just look at it as I'm here for a team. I'm going to play my heart out every day I go out there. I'm always hard on myself. There isn't going to be someone harder on me than myself. I just go out there and play the game. I try to keep it as simple as possible and enjoy the game. Nothing different.

MLB.com: You are off to the best start of your career. Why?

Gregorius: I'm swinging at better pitches. I try to stay consistent with an approach. It's a little hard. It's a work in progress. There's nothing wrong with that. Not every day is going to be your day. I'm going to try to make it as good as possible and try to stay consistent.

Video: MIN@NYY: Didi belts two-run homer to the second deck

MLB.com: You are one of the leaders in slugging percentage and RBIs. Let me ask you this: Are you the best shortstop right now?

Gregorius: No.

MLB.com: Why is that?

Gregorius: I'm good for my team. That's all I care about. I can help my team. I can't help any other team. I don't play for them. I play for my team and that's all I can do.

Video: Gregorius continues to impress in 2018

MLB.com: I remember when you first came into the league, your reputation was all glove. Now you can do everything. I would like to know, who turned you into an all-around player?

Gregorius: All the players that we have here -- all veteran guys. When I came over here, I picked their brains and then I talked to the hitting coach. I talked to everybody because I want to get better at everything, not just one thing. I'm here to make adjustments. I want to get better. I'm working every day. It's not just coming to the field and saying, "Yeah, I'm just a good defender." I never liked being labeled. I'm going out there and playing my best. There is always somebody that is going to say something, whether it's good or bad.

MLB.com: I know you mentioned the entire team. Is there one guy that really helped you?

Gregorius: [Carlos] Beltran.

MLB.com: What did he do?

Gregorius: He helped me with my hitting most of the time. It was mostly me and him working in the cage.

MLB.com: Describe how he was as a teammate.

Gregorius: He was like a teacher. He watches other guy's clips and tells you what you need to work on. He is willing to help. It's not like the other guys didn't help. Everybody helped, but he is one of the guys that I talked to a lot about hitting. … He is a guy I can always talk to.

MLB.com: Are you surprised you are leading the league in RBIs and slugging?

Gregorius: I don't worry about none of that stuff. It's just helping my team win. Why do I have to look at numbers? It matters what I do for my team. That's all I care about.

Video: MIA@NYY: Gregorius powers Yanks with two home runs

MLB.com: You are more than just a baseball player, you are an artist/painter. What is your next project?

Gregorius: I have nothing in mind right now.

MLB.com: Not even on your shoes?

Gregorius: Shoes, yeah. I've been working on my shoes for Players Weekend.

MLB.com: What's the plan?

Gregorius: Right now, I have a cartoon again. I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to finish it up with.

MLB.com: This Yankees team is pretty good. Based on what I saw against the Twins recently, this offense can be awesome.

Gregorius: I know this offense is good. Top to bottom can do damage. It's not just one guy doing the damage. It's the entire team. You don't want to pitch to this guy, the next guys will do damage. That's how I look at it.

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius