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Urshela dazzles again with seated throw to 1B

'No panic when he gets the ball,' Voit says of third baseman
@BryanHoch
May 26, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Gio Urshela has compiled a robust defensive highlight reel during his brief tenure as the Yankees' third baseman, adding a dazzler from the seat of his pants during Saturday's doubleheader sweep of the Royals. In the eighth inning of Saturday's first game, a 7-3 Yankees victory, Urshela

KANSAS CITY -- Gio Urshela has compiled a robust defensive highlight reel during his brief tenure as the Yankees' third baseman, adding a dazzler from the seat of his pants during Saturday's doubleheader sweep of the Royals.

In the eighth inning of Saturday's first game, a 7-3 Yankees victory, Urshela ranged to his left to smother Martin Maldonado's hard grounder. While sitting on the infield dirt, Urshela whipped a strong throw across the diamond to a stunned Luke Voit at first base.

"It's unbelievable," Voit said. "I'm over there at first getting ready for a bad throw and he freakin' hits me in the chest. It's incredible. It's every day. There's never a bad throw and there's no panic when he gets the ball, even when he falls down or hits it perfectly. It's pretty impressive. There's not a lot of guys in baseball who can do it like that."

Yankees manager Aaron Boone has likened Urshela's comfort level at third base to "a warm bath," noting that the game seems to move slowly at the hot corner for the 27-year-old. Urshela has helped the club absorb a season-ending injury to Miguel Andújar without missing much of a beat.

"There's a little Vinny Castilla [in him]," Boone said, referring to the retired 16-year veteran who played for six teams, most prominently the Rockies. "I feel like he comes in on the ball really well. Vinny did that really well. Neither guy is fast or flashy athletically, but they move real smooth. Strong, accurate, confident in their arm."

Of course, Urshela has also contributed offensively. His .333 batting average entering Sunday ranks fifth among Major Leaguers with more than 100 at-bats, and Urshela has credited mechanical adjustments -- a wider stance at the plate, with a slightly deeper crouch and his front foot more toward the pitcher -- as well as improved pitch selection.

"He's a better hitter than he's ever been," Boone said. "He came with the reputation as an elite defender over there, which has been confirmed for us. But I think even when we got him last [August], I don't know if we expected this kind of offensive output. He has been really consistent since day one, going back to early March when he started playing in games. It's been over a couple of months now of really good at-bats every day."

Progress for Pax
James Paxton (left knee inflammation) was able to throw a side session, play long-toss and go through fielding practice at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., which Boone believes could have the left-hander ready to take the mound during this week's Padres series in the Bronx.

"Everything went pretty well," Boone said. "We're hoping that he's in line to now join the rotation. He'll fly back to New York tonight. We'll all get together and make sure we feel like he's in a really good place to rejoin us. Then we'll make that call."

Paxton has said he is still experiencing discomfort in his left knee, but that it may be something he needs to pitch through.

"I think we just want to feel like he's in a place where he can go out and pitch the way he's capable of, execute all the pitches he needs to," Boone said. "Obviously he needs to be able to protect himself and feel good that he's in a good enough place to join the rotation. I certainly feel like it's moving in that direction."

Goin' deep
Didi Gregorius homered in his first at-bat on Sunday against the Pirates' Class A Advanced affiliate in Bradenton, Fla., and the rehabbing shortstop could be promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as soon as Tuesday, according to Boone.

From there, Boone estimates that Gregorius would need "a week to two weeks" of Triple-A action before being cleared to rejoin the big league roster.

On the shelf
Jake Barrett was placed on the 10-day injured list prior to Sunday's game with right elbow inflammation. In a corresponding move, the Yankees recalled right-hander Joe Harvey from Triple-A.

Boone said Barrett felt elbow discomfort while warming up for the second game of Saturday's doubleheader. He will receive an MRI in New York and be examined by team physician Christopher Ahmad.

This date in Yankees history
May 26, 2006: Derek Jeter collected his 2,000th career hit with a third-inning infield single off the Royals' Scott Elarton. The Yankees won, 7-6, at Yankee Stadium.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.