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Girardi: 'Didi is our shortstop'

Gregorius will start games upon return from DL
Special to MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not hesitate when asked if injured shortstop Didi Gregorius will start when he returns to the lineup.

"Didi is our shortsop," Girardi said Sunday. "If I do pick my days to give Didi off, it'l probably be against tough left-handers."

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PITTSBURGH -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not hesitate when asked if injured shortstop Didi Gregorius will start when he returns to the lineup.

"Didi is our shortsop," Girardi said Sunday. "If I do pick my days to give Didi off, it'l probably be against tough left-handers."

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What gave the question legitimacy is the play of Ronald Torreyes, who has excelled in Gregorius' absence. Not only is he an excellent defender, but the 24-old Venezuelan has also been a revelation at the plate, hitting .293 with 13 RBIs. In 155 at-bats during his 2016 rookie season, Torreyes had 12 RBIs.

Girardi said he plans to use Torreyes at second and third base after Gregorius returns.

"The more I can keep guys fresh, the better off they're gonna be," Girardi said. "And the other thing is, we've had a lot of days off in April. I haven't necessarily had to do that. But there is gonna come a point we're gonna start playing 13 days in a row, 10 days in a row, I'm gonna give guys a day."

Gregorius suffered a strained right shoulder playing in the World Baseball Classic, and he was immediately placed on the disabled list. He is expected to return in early May.

Getting better

Aaron Judge, the Yankees' power-hitting phenom, is quickly figuring things out. In 2016, his first season in the Majors, Judge struck out 42 times in 95 plate appearances. But in '17, he has just 17 strikeouts in 67 plate appearances.

Asked what adjustments he has noticed, Girardi said, "I think it's been in his lower half, mostly. The fact that he's learned to control his leg kick, his stride has been better. And it's experience, too.

"It's just at-bats, and understanding things that you have to do here that might be a little bit different than you do in Double-A and Triple-A. You're gonna consistently see more velocity here, and you have to get used to that. You're gonna see more breaking balls."

Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh, who covered the Yankees on Sunday.

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius