ANAHEIM -- Over the past two-plus seasons, Didi Gregorius has repeatedly insisted that he does not -- and will not -- consider himself a home run hitter. The stat sheet begs to differ.Gregorius has been a key cog throughout the Yankees' eight-game winning streak, batting .419 (13-for-31) with five homers
ANAHEIM -- Over the past two-plus seasons, Didi Gregorius has repeatedly insisted that he does not -- and will not -- consider himself a home run hitter. The stat sheet begs to differ.
Gregorius has been a key cog throughout the Yankees' eight-game winning streak, batting .419 (13-for-31) with five homers and 13 RBIs over that span leading into Sunday's series finale against the Angels. Despite those figures, Gregorius said he is not satisfied.
"I'm trying to improve my whole game, offensively and defensively," Gregorius said. "You've still got to try to get better. You can never be satisfied, otherwise the game will pass you by. You can't be bigger than the game. You've always got to keep working. That's what I try to do and try to get better."
Besides Gregorius' solid offense and play in the field, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he has been struck by the 28-year-old shortstop's consistent passion for the game.
"You see how much he likes to play," Boone said. "That's something that has taken me. In his unique way, this is a guy that's really, really prepared. I think he really, really loves to play the game. With that, he's tough. There's a toughness about him. He just kind of goes about his business. He loves to play and he's tough."
Gregorius entered play on Sunday leading the Majors in slugging percentage (.800) and OPS (1.251). His 10 homers are tied with the Mariners' Mitch Haniger and the Halos' Michael Trout for the Major League lead. The only Yankees with more homers prior to May 1 have been Alex Rodriguez (14 in 2007) and Graig Nettles (11 in 1974).
"It's awesome, especially having a front-row seat for it," Giancarlo Stanton said. "I'm on deck every time. It's good. We need it."
Lights, camera, baseball
One year ago, Boone was collecting paychecks from ESPN as an analyst, calling a highlighted game each week from the press level. On Sunday, Boone landed on the other side of Sunday Night Baseball, welcoming A-Rod, Jessica Mendoza and Matt Vasgersian into the visiting manager's office at Angel Stadium.
"That was interesting," Boone said. "I'm so consumed with this and all that goes into it every day that I don't necessarily reflect on things that much right now. It's kind of, tackle today. That's how I approach it. When I get to see Alex and Jess and Matty and Andy [Reichwald], our producer, it's just friends that it's nice to come across."
Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) took on-field batting practice at the club's complex in Tampa, Fla., marking the first time he has done so since his procedure. Bird ran sprints and is feeling good, according to Boone. There is no set date for him to play in games.
Brandon Drury (severe migraines) is continuing his rehab with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He went 1-for-3 with a double in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader at Lehigh Valley, playing third base, then knocked another double as the DH in the nightcap. Boone said that no decision has been made regarding if Drury will join the big league team in Houston this week.
Jacoby Ellsbury (left hip soreness) is "a little slower moving" in his recovery, Boone said. He has hit off a tee and soft-toss, but has not been on the field.
Clint Frazier (concussion) went 2-for-4 with a homer and two runs scored while playing left field for Class A Advanced Tampa in its 9-5 win over Charlotte on Sunday. In four Minor League rehab games, Frazier is 3-for-15 (.200).
Tommy Kahnle (right shoulder tendinitis) was scheduled to resume playing catch on Sunday. He last pitched on April 12. Boone said that Adam Warren (right back strain) is progressing well, but is not ready to play catch.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.