He can’t tell you when, or where, but Didi Gregorius vowed Saturday that he shall return as the same player he was before he suffered his surprising injury.
“Really confident,” the Yankees’ shortstop said when asked of his convictions that Tommy John surgery on his right elbow would not sidetrack his progress. “I don’t think much is going to change. It’s just surgery and that’s it.”
The 28-year-old, in his first public words since the Yankees announced his injury, said he didn’t have a timeline for when he could rejoin the active roster. He figures to miss at least April and May after undergoing the procedure in October.
When he arrived at T-Mobile’s flagship store in midtown Manhattan at an appearance to greet fans, Gregorius wore a brace on his right arm. He removed that before the event began, and he shook hands and signed autographs with his right hand, without apparent strain or effort. He is rehabilitating in Tampa at the Yankees’ minor league complex, he said.
The injury occurred on one play in ALDS Game 2 at Fenway Park, Gregorius divulged: Ian Kinsler’s seventh-inning double to deep left field that Andrew McCutchen misplayed off the Green Monster, compelling Gregorius to grab the ball close to McCutchen and hurl it toward home in an effort to prevent Mitch Moreland from scoring. Miguel Andujar cut off the throw in the infield.
“I already knew [surgery would be needed] as soon as it happened on that play in Boston,” Gregorius said, “I already knew it was going to happen. I told them I’m playing; I don’t care what they say.” He said he’s approaching his rehabilitation with the same doggedness.
As to how Gregorius feels about the Yankees’ passive-aggressive dance with free-agent shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado, or about general manager Brian Cashman’s declaration he would like Gregorius (who is eligible for free agency a year from now) in a Yankees uniform for the long term, those queries remain unanswered — and unasked.
After the always-gracious Gregorius told three reporters he’d answer their questions for two minutes before departing for another commitment, one of Gregorius’ representatives, clearly bucking for a promotion, cut off the interview session after one minute and five seconds.
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