Friday, December 12, 2014

Gregorius: I Have to Focus on Winning With Yankees, Not Jeter

Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius is keeping a level head about his new job. 

Gregorius said during a conference call Friday he's not going to worry about the fact he's replacing Derek Jeter when he begins his tenure with the club next season, his first full one in the big leagues. Jeter started at short for the Yankees every year from 1996-2014, and Gregorius made it clear he doesn't intend to make people forget it.

“Jeter is still Jeter,” he told The New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron. “Everything everybody is going to talk about is Jeter. I’m learning. Just try to focus on the game and win every game, not worrying about what’s going on.”

One way Gregorius could do that could be by improving his offense, an aspect of his play he's certainly struggled with in the past. He hit just .241 with 13 home runs and 55 RBIs with the Diamondbacks the last two years, slugging a low .300.

Still, at age 25, it's not like he doesn't have plenty of time to better himself, something he considers a priority. 

“I have to improve on everything," he said. "I don’t want to think I know everything. I love working hard. People say ‘Your defense is really good,’ but I don’t want to think that. I’m still working on everything because every day’s a new day to learn something. For me, you have to keep learning to get better.”

It seems that's a mindset the entire Yankees clubhouse could use right now, as just one of its everyday players last season batted higher than .290. He was Martin Prado, who didn't even join the team until July 31.

Yet Gregorius' energy and the possibility of an upcoming run at Max Scherzer may be reasons for optimism when it comes to the Yankees' future, bleak as it appears at the moment. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)