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Didi Gregorius on his May hitting woes: ‘Nothing has changed for me’

 

A line from one of Frank Sinatra’s classic tunes fittingly describes the first seven weeks of the season for Didi Gregorius: “Riding high in April, shot down in May.”

The Yankees’ shortstop resembled a legitimate American League MVP candidate in his first 28 games, as he slashed .327/.421/.735 with 10 home runs and a league-high 30 RBI. Gregorius instantly became a mainstay in the middle of the team’s batting order, and his performance at the plate and in the field earned him AL Player of the Month honors in April.

But when the calendar turned to May, Gregorius’ torrid hitting pace disappeared. 

The 28-year-old is mired in a 1-for-41 slump, and entering the fifth inning of last Saturday’s game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium, Gregorius was in the midst of a career-worst 0-for-30 slide. On April 25, his batting average was .372. Now, Gregorius has the same average as Giancarlo Stanton: .255.

Talk about the peaks and valleys to a baseball campaign.

Yet, Gregorius doesn’t seem fazed. 

“I’m not happy with the at-bats because I’m not helping the team, to be honest,” Gregorius told the New York Daily News on Wednesday. “I’m feeling good. Nothing has changed for me. I’m feeling good.

“For the years that I’ve been playing this game, I know that this game is a game of failure. That’s what you learn from. When you accept that, that you’re not going to get a base hit every time, it gets more manageable than trying to explode for some reason and next at-bat go up there and try to do the same thing. I think it’s just learning some stuff.

“Those things happen every time you play the game. There’s always some ups, always some downs. The downs, you don’t want them to beat you. It’s a learning process. That’s how I look at it.”

Fortunately for Gregorius, the Yankees have maintained their winning ways while he has struggled. The team has won seven of nine games, and during this span, they’ve scored 57 runs.

“As I’ve talked about this whole year from a makeup standpoint, he’s great,” Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone said of Gregorius. “He loves to play, he’s tough, he’s prepared. I think he deals with all that baseball throws at you, and baseball is going to throw bumps in the road at you when you’re in the middle of being a great player.

“That’s just the nature of being a hitter and being a ball player. He’s going to have occasional bumps in the road over the season, and I think he’s handled it great.”

 

Clint Frazier to stick with Yankees — “for now”

 

Clint Frazier received some good news from Aaron Boone on Wednesday, even though incessant rain showers in the nation’s capital spoiled the rookie’s promotion to the Majors. 

The 23-year-old will be on the roster for the Yankees’ weekend series against the Royals in Kansas City, and according to the New York Post, Frazier will “almost certainly” appear in the lineup on Saturday when Royals’ left-hander Danny Duffy takes the mound. Kansas City will also start a southpaw on Sunday.

“That’ll be something that we just monitor day to day,” Boone told the Post. “That’ll be a fluid situation. We’ll see how that plays out.”

On Tuesday, Frazier was promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after hitting .362 with eight extra-base hits in 12 games. He spent all of March and April on the disabled list with lingering concussion symptoms, and he was activated from the disabled list on May 2. 

“I’m just here to get at-bats right now,’’ Frazier told the Post. “It’s a big weight off my shoulders that I don’t have to sneak on that team flight right now.

“I just want to get an opportunity. I didn’t want to go back down without at least getting one at-bat to try to push for a spot.

“I’m looking forward to facing lefties, righties, whatever it is. It was a lot for me to get back to this moment, so I’m just really excited I get to stay around for however long they keep me here and try to make this really good team even better.”

 

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.

 

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