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Didi Gregorius and his bat remain healthy for Yankees

Didi Gregorius of the New York Yankees celebrates

Didi Gregorius of the New York Yankees celebrates his seventh-inning, two-run home run against the Houston Astros with teammate Greg Bird at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

One swing by Didi Gregorius accounted for half the Yankees' offensive output in its three-game series with the Astros.

Even Gregorius isn't especially thrilled about that.

"Not hitting great as a team," Gregorius said, "but it's a long season."

In the seventh inning of the Yankees' 6-2 loss to the Astros Wednesday afternoon, Gregorius' second-deck, two-run homer to rightfield brought the Yankees to within three runs. His sixth homer of the season came on a 0-and-1 hanging curve from Astros starter Collin McHugh.

It was a slim silver lining in a series severely lacking them -- the Yankees were outscored 21-4 in the three-game set.

"I'm just trying to get on base there," Gregorius said. "I'm not a home run hitter. That's not my job."

Ever since a slow start to the season, Gregorius steadily upped his production with each passing month, culminating with a stellar July (.317 batting average, .360 on-base percentage). But he entered Wednesday with regressed numbers through August, posting a .228 average and .271 on-base percentage.

In the series finale against the Astros, Gregorius went 2-for-4 and picked up his first RBI since Aug. 2 at the White Sox. The home run was his first since July 27 at the Rangers.

"Everybody gets their ups and downs," said Gregorius, who raised his average to .253. "Just going out there and trying to make some adjustments."

Gregorius explained that one at-bat, good or bad, has little effect on his approach the next time up.

"Just going at-bat for at-bat. That's the only way you have to look at it," he said. "You can't drag the thing that happened the day before or the at-bat before."

Gregorius, 25, has been thrust into the limelight with the Yankees because of the massive shoes he has had to fill. But he said replacing Derek Jeter wasn't a huge deal.

"That's the thing -- I don't take it as a replacement," Gregorius said. "They didn't put him at a different position. He retired after a successful career . . . I'm just here, trying to help the team to win. That's the only thing I can do."

With so many Yankees succumbing to injury -- Mark Teixeira's sore right leg, Jacoby Ellsbury's swollen hip, CC Sabathia's ailing knee -- Gregorius quietly has played in 119 games this season, second to Chase Headley (121) for the team lead.

Gregorius' previous high for games played was 103 in 2013 while with the Diamondbacks.

Is he feeling it?

"At this point," Gregorius said, "we're in August. Everybody does. I'm holding up . . . it's just about being out there and trying to help the team to win."

One look at the Yankees' injury-riddled roster will attest: Being out there and healthy is half the battle.


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