Didi, Drury swing big bats in Toronto

March 30th, 2018

TORONTO -- Acquiring infielders from the D-backs in three-way trades seems to have become a reliable strategy for the Yankees. Already well acquainted with Didi Gregorius' offensive prowess, they are pleased by how swiftly has assimilated into the left side of their infield.

Drury collected his first two RBIs in a Yankees uniform in Friday's 4-2 win over the Blue Jays, roping a run-scoring double off the top of the right-field fence in the second inning and smashing a run-scoring single in the fourth off .

"It's been good. Everybody here has been great, very welcoming," Drury said. "Like I said the first day I got here, I feel like I've been here a lot longer than I have. Everybody has been awesome."

The second hit by Drury -- who was acquired in February and quickly installed as the starting third baseman -- knocked home Gregorius, who tripled and doubled in his first two plate appearances of the evening.

"Going up there with a plan, like he always does," manager Aaron Boone said of Drury. "There's just a grit and a grind to the way he goes about things. He brings that up to the plate. Two really good at-bats. ... That's a tough matchup and two really good at-bats in big spots."

Gregorius did not collect a triple in 570 regular-season plate appearances last year, but he picked up three bases with a second-inning drive that eluded center fielder .

The shortstop was erased at home plate a batter later when he aggressively ran on contact following 's no-out ground ball to third baseman , but the Yankees still scored later in the inning as Drury brought home Sanchez.

"The problem was, it went right to the third baseman, so Solarte was able to gain some momentum toward home plate," Boone said. "It's kind of one of those tough reads. We did want him going, if he read chopper to third. It was tough off the bat. If it's not directly at Solarte where he can move through it, it probably works out."

Gregorius arrived with lingering questions when the Yankees acquired him in a December 2014 three-way deal that also involved the Tigers, but three solid seasons in pinstripes have established the 28-year-old as the "captain of the infield," in Boone's eyes.

The Yankees are hoping for similar development from Drury, who they believe has not yet tapped his potential and is working to convert some of his doubles into homers. Last season, Drury batted .267/.317/.447 with 37 doubles, 13 homers and 63 RBIs.

Nearly six weeks after being traded by Arizona, the product of Grants Pass, Ore., said that the reality of being a member of the Yankees has not completely sunk in.

"I feel like when I'm off the field a little bit sometimes, I'll be sitting there thinking about it," he said. "It is pretty crazy. When I'm out there playing baseball, I feel like it's the same game to me as it was when I was in low [Class] A. I'm the same person with the same feelings and thoughts. Out there on the field, it's the same game."