ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Didi Gregorius was resolute.
The Yankees shortstop is certain he’ll be available for the American League wild-card game on Oct. 3, and he actually expects to play before that.
“Yes,” Gregorius said Monday. “Before the end of the season … I’ll be ready to go before the season ends.”
Gregorius suffered torn cartilage in his right wrist on Saturday as he dived headfirst into home to score the 11th-inning run that clinched a postseason berth for the Yankees. Aaron Boone disclosed the injury after Sunday’s loss to the Orioles and said it is possible the Yankees could be without him for the rest of the season.
A day later, Gregorius, wearing a small brace on the wrist, said he was encouraged.
“I’m feeling way better,” he said before Monday night’s game against the Rays. “Feeling a big improvement from yesterday to today. Feeling stronger and getting some exercises in. Wait and see what’s going to happen.”
Boone said he too was encouraged but stressed that there still is a ways to go before declaring Gregorius a player for Oct. 3, let alone by week’s end. Gregorius, who wore a large ice pack on the wrist during the afternoon, will be seen by doctors on Wednesday to determine if he can resume some limited baseball activities.
“He felt significantly better in some of the range-of-motion things he’s able to do, but I would also temper it, and I think the true indicator will come Wednesday when he gets reevaluated,” Boone said. “And then if we’re able to start baseball activities from there, seeing how it takes when we get a ball and bat in his hand and all that. At least today, another sign of optimism. So we’ll just keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.”
Boone started Adeiny Hechavarria, a terrific defender, at shortstop and kept rookie Gleyber Torres, who came up in the minors as a shortstop, at second base in Monday night's game. But Boone said “depending on the matchup,” he could go with Torres at short and Neil Walker at second.
Gregorius doesn’t think his manager will have to concern himself with that much longer, calling Monday “a big step forward.”
“That’s what I want from now on,” Gregorius said. “I want no setbacks.”