KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Aaron Boone gave Didi Gregorius a second straight game off to clear his head, something the shortstop didn’t sound entirely thrilled about. Gregorius is mired in a dreadful slump this month, with one hit in his last 45 at-bats.
“I’m not the one making the lineup so why would I be disappointed?” Gregorius said Sunday morning when asked about it. “I do want to play every day, but there’s not much I can do. We talked about it yesterday and that’s what’s going on right now.”
Gregorius was MLB’s AL Player of the Month for April. After picking up two hits in his first two at-bats on May 3, Gregorius was batting .343, but his since dropped to .248. His 1.156 OPS at the end of April has fallen to .858.
Boone said Gregorius will be back in the lineup Monday night when the Yankees start a three-games series in Arlington against the Rangers but didn’t guarantee he’d hit third, the case much of this season.
“I don’t know,” Boone said before the Yankees’ 10-1 victory over the Royals. “We’ll see where we are roster-wise, matchup-wise. He could be [third], but we’ll see how it plays out.”
Of sitting Gregorius again, Boone said he felt the two days could be “a good pause for him,” a chance to do a little additional work with hitting coach Marcus Thames and collect himself.
“Especially with all the off days we’ve had, maybe just a chance for him to recharge both mentally and physically and hopefully hit the ground running when we get to Texas,” Boone said.
Gregorius said he handles slumps far better than when he started his career. He said during his time with the Diamondbacks, who traded Gregorius to the Yankees as part of a three-team trade before the 2015 season, it wasn’t unusual for him to “smash or break a lot of stuff” when things didn’t go well at the plate.
“Now [you understand] it’s part of the game, you mature,” Gregorius said. “[Had] a good first month and nothing happened the second month, but if you guys look back at everything I said at the beginning [in April], I said I have to enjoy it while it lasts because these slumps are going to come.”
After sitting against lefties Danny Duffy and Eric Skoglund this weekend, Gregorius will return to the lineup Monday night against Rangers righthander Bartolo Colon, who turns 45 on Thursday.
Said Boone: “As players . . . you love that grind that is the major league season, but I think when you are given that day to just watch and decompress a little I think there’s some benefit from that, and hopefully that’s the case for Didi.”