Gregorius with the New York Yankees
|New York Yankees – No. 18|
February 18, 1990 |
|September 5, 2012, for the Cincinnati Reds|
(through July 1, 2017)
|Runs batted in||219|
Mariekson Julius "Didi" Gregorius, OON (born February 18, 1990), is a Dutch professional baseball shortstop for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for the Cincinnati Reds in 2012 and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013 and 2014.
Family and early life
Gregorius was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on February 18, 1990, the son to Johannes Gregorius, Sr. and Sheritsa Stroop. At the time, Johannes pitched for the Amsterdam Pirates in Honkbal Hoofdklasse and worked as a carpenter. Stroop played for the Dutch national softball team. His older brother, Johannes, Jr., pitched professionally in Honkbal Hoofdklasse and the Italian Baseball League and most recently played as an infielder in Curaçao. His paternal grandfather, Antonio, was one of the greatest Curaçaoan pitchers of the mid-20th century.
Gregorius began playing tee-ball in the Netherlands before moving to Curaçao at the age of five years where he was raised. He also played soccer and basketball in his youth. Gregorius, his father, and his brother all go by the nickname "Didi." He began using the name in the United States when teammates could not pronounce "Mariekson." He speaks four languages: Dutch, Papiamentu, English, and Spanish.
Gregorius was first discovered by a Cincinnati Reds scout assigned to the Netherlands while he was playing at an under-18 tournament in The Hague in 2006. Gregorius signed with the Reds as an amateur free agent in 2007. He chose to sign with the Reds rather than the Seattle Mariners or San Diego Padres because the Reds were willing to bring him to the United States, while San Diego and Seattle planned to start Gregorius' career in either the Dominican Summer League or the Venezuelan Summer League. He made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Reds of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2008, playing in 31 games and recording a .155 batting average in 109 plate appearances. The next year, the Reds assigned Gregorius to the Billings Mustangs of the Rookie-level Pioneer League, where he batted .314 in 255 plate appearances. The Reds promoted Gregorius to the Sarasota Reds of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League, where he had a .254 average in 74 plate appearances. Gregorius played for the Dayton Dragons of the Class A Midwest League in 2010, where he batted .273.
In 2011, Gregorius missed the first two months of the season after he was diagnosed with a kidney disorder. He was assigned to the Bakersfield Blaze of the Class A-Advanced California League, and was promoted to the Carolina Mudcats of the Class AA Southern League. Combined, he batted .289 with seven home runs and 44 runs batted in (RBIs) in 89 games played. After the season, the Reds added Gregorius to their 40 man roster to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft. Gregorius played for the Canberra Cavalry in the 2010–11 Australian Baseball League season. In 36 games, he batted .189. He was awarded Golden Glove for the 2010–11 Australian Baseball League season.
Gregorius began the 2012 season with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Reds' new affiliate in the Southern League, where he had a .278 batting average in 81 games. The Reds promoted him to the Louisville Bats of the Class AAA International League, where he batted .243 in 48 games. On September 1, 2012, the Reds promoted Gregorius to the major leagues as a September call-up. Gregorius made his major league debut on September 5. He played in eight games for the Reds, and recorded six hits in 20 at-bats (.300). After the season, the Reds assigned Gregorius to play in the Arizona Fall League.
As Gregorius was blocked on the Reds by starting shortstop Zack Cozart, the Reds traded Gregorius to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a three team trade that also involved the Cleveland Indians after the 2012 season. The Reds sent Gregorius to Cleveland along with Drew Stubbs in exchange for Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald. The Indians then traded Gregorius to Arizona with reliever Tony Sipp and infielder Lars Anderson for pitchers Trevor Bauer, Bryan Shaw, and Matt Albers.
Gregorius began the 2013 season in the minor leagues. He was promoted to the Diamondbacks on April 18, due to an injury to starting second baseman Aaron Hill. In his first game with the Diamondbacks, Gregorius hit his first career home run off of Phil Hughes on the first pitch of his first at-bat. On April 27, he was hit in the batting helmet by a 93-mile-per-hour (150 km/h) fastball thrown by Josh Outman, which caused a mild concussion. He was placed on the seven-day disabled list for concussions, and returned to the Diamondbacks' lineup the next week. Gregorius batted .252 in 103 games for the Diamondbacks, but began to lose playing time later in the season due to his struggles against left-handed pitching; he batted .200 with a .267 on-base percentage against left-handers.
In spring training in 2014, Gregorius competed for the starting shortstop role with Chris Owings, a prospect in the Diamondbacks' organization. The Diamondbacks named Owings their starting shortstop for Opening Day, and sent Gregorius to the Reno Aces of the PCL. On April 19, 2014, Gregorius hit three home runs which gave the Aces a 10-7 win over the Las Vegas 51s. In June, the Diamondbacks promoted Gregorius after an injury to backup infielder Cliff Pennington, and he split playing time with Owings.
New York Yankees
Needing to acquire a shortstop to replace the retiring Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees acquired Gregorius in a three-team trade on December 5, 2014, in which the Yankees sent Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers and the Tigers sent Robbie Ray and Domingo Leyba to the Diamondbacks.
Gregorius struggled in April and May, batting .222 and committing six defensive errors. By the beginning of August, he increased his batting average to .260 and became more consistent in the field. On July 27, 2015, he went 3-for-4 with a home run and, a career high, 4 RBIs. The following day, July 28, he had four hits, three RBI, and two runs in a game against the Texas Rangers. On August 28, he went 4 for 5 with a home run and, a new career high, 6 RBIs.
Gregorius hit a game-winning two-run home run on June 29, 2016 to cap a six-run comeback in the Yankees' 9-7 victory over the Texas Rangers, who came into the game with the AL's best record at 51-27. In 153 games of 2016, Gregorius batted .276 with 20 home runs and 76 RBI. Gregorius had career highs in hits (155), doubles (32), home runs (20), and RBIs (70).
On March 21, 2017, it was revealed that Gregorius would miss opening day due to the shoulder injury he suffered during his time at the World Baseball Classic, and would not return until at least late April or early May. On April 21, he was optioned to High-A Tampa for a rehab assignment. On April 28, the Yankees activated Gregorius off the DL and he made his season debut that night against the Baltimore Orioles. He hit a double in his first at-bat and also collected an RBI single as the Yankees defeated the Orioles 14-11 in extra innings. On June 10, Gregorius collected his 500th major league hit. On June 21, Gregorius hit the 50th home run of his career. Gregorius was named as a Final Vote candidate for the 2017 MLB All-Star Game.
Gregorius played for the Dutch national baseball team in the 2011 Baseball World Cup. After beating Cuba in the final, the members of the team were received the Order of Orange-Nassau, 5th class(Knight). Gregorius strained the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow of his throwing arm while preparing for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which prevented him from competing in the tournament. He also played for Team Netherlands in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, but a shoulder injury forced him out of it. Said injury would also keep him out of the Yankee lineup for the first three weeks.
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