Ex-Yankee Didi Gregorius is certain that he can return to the pre-operation numbers


CLEARWATER, Fla. – Didi Gregorius is healthy again and ready to bet on himself.

The former Yankees shortstop has exchanged midnight blue pinstripes for red ones, but he is confident that he can return to the player he was before more than a year after Tommy John's surgery.

"Yes, why shouldn't I? [confident]? Gregorius said Thursday at the Phillies Spring Training Complex.

Gregorius & # 39; new contract supports his words. He signed a $ 14 million one-year deal with the Phillies that could help reset its value after a year in 2019.

At that time last year, the 29-year-old was still rehabilitating his surgically repaired right elbow. On June 7th he returned to the Yankees and tried to find his rhythm on the plate. In 82 games he beat 0.738 OPS to 0.238.

Didi Gregorius
Didi GregoriusAP

"Everyone [was] Already in the middle and now I'm just starting, ”he said. "I didn't have a lot of games to play before I came back. That's one of the things I've been through."

It was a lot different than Gregorius in the past three years. From 2016 to 18, the slick fielding shortstop reached with 72 home runs and an OPS of 0.791 .277. He had the unenviable task of filling Derek Jeter's shoes in 2015 and handling them well while becoming a fan favorite.

While the Yankees continue shortstop with Gleyber Torres, the Phillies hope to get the pre-Tommy John version of Gregorius this season.

"I wasn't in New York when he was injured, but he looks like three years ago," said former Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, who now has the same job with the Phillies. "He's a damned player in all phases of the game. The other thing he brings is a really professional approach, some leadership and a lot of respect for him for what he did in the game."