Ideally, the Yankees would have preferred if shortstop Didi Gregorius skipped the World Baseball Classic and prepared for the upcoming season in Tampa.
However, they knew how important it was to Gregorius to represent Team Netherlands in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Hence why the Yankees gave Gregorius their blessing to enter the competition.
Surprisingly Gregorius hasn’t seen any of his time at shortstop. With a crowded infield which consists of Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Schoop, Andrelton Simmons and Jurickson Profar, Gregorius has seen a bulk of his playing time at the DH position.
Playing DH for Team Netherlands seems to be paying off for the Yankees shortstop, after hitting .426 with eight RBI and five extra-base hits. Even though this is the first time Gregorius has been the DH, he has taken to the role quite nicely.
“He looks like he’s been doing it 10 years,” Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens said after Monday’s win. “He’s so athletic. He stays warm. He’s such a good hitter. He’s in the heart of the lineup, protecting [cleanup hitter Wladimir Balentien]. That’s from being very, very unselfish.”
Gregorius was a fundamental piece in Team Netherlands handing Team Israel their first loss of the World Baseball Classic. Gregorius doubled and homered.
Gregorius and Team Netherlands have to win one more game in order to advance to the semifinals at Dodgers Stadium. They’ll take on Team Cuba at 11:00 p.m. E.T. on Tuesday night.
With the Cuba game in their sights, Gregorius plans on helping Netherlands advance to the next round. Even though he’d rather play shortstop, he’s quite glad helping Team Netherlands from the DH spot.
“I want to be on the field, but I’m happy with what I’m doing,” Gregorius said.
And if Gregorius returns to Yankees camp in one piece, they’ll be ecstatic with how he did as well.