'Dedicated' Gio honored for community work

November 17th, 2021
Photo: Hackensack University Medical Center

impressed the Yankees late in the year, making a seamless shift from third base to shortstop. He’s showing even greater range in the offseason.

Urshela’s community activities have kicked into high gear. The veteran will receive the “Heroes Award” from the Cristian Rivera Foundation on Wednesday evening in New York, an organization that fundraises for research for pediatric brain cancer.

The 30-year-old was also honored on Tuesday with an “Ambassador Award” from Hackensack University Medical Center, where Urshela has made several visits delivering cheer to the pediatric wing.

“I really love every time I come to the schools, hospital visits, stuff like that,” Urshela said on MLB Network. “I love doing that for the people who really need it.”

Photo: Hackensack University Medical Center

Urshela visited Community School 55 in the Bronx earlier this offseason, distributing bobblehead dolls and hand sanitizer to about 100 fourth- and fifth-graders.

"Gio is a sweet, dedicated person who really wants to do things. I could tell that immediately," said David Jurist, who has been involved with Hackensack University Medical Center for more than 40 years.

"To see the effect that it has on a patient that's going through chemo or a teenager that's depressed, it's amazing, like a miracle. People like Gio will stay with somebody for 15 to 20 minutes; they don't come in and just say hello and give an autograph. It lights people up and it stays with them."

Photo: Hackensack University Medical Center

Urshela has been spending his offseason in Tampa, Fla., preparing for a fourth season with the Yankees. He batted .267/.301/.419 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs in 116 games this past season, playing 96 games at third base and 28 games at shortstop.

General manager Brian Cashman has said that he considers shortstop a priority this offseason -- the Yankees have spoken with representatives for free agents Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien and Javier Báez -- but Urshela enjoyed his late-season cameo at the position. He said that he would enjoy continuing to receive reps there.

“When I signed for the first time with the Indians, I signed as a shortstop and they moved me to third base,” Urshela said. “I’ve been playing short and third; more third base, but I really like to play shortstop.”

In the meantime, Urshela plans to continue his efforts in the community, which have made him a star both on and off of the diamond.

“I just want to put a little bit of smiles on those faces,” Urshela said. “Those people are going through a really hard time. I just want to go there and give them a little bit of good times, spend some time with them.”