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Didi Gregorius focused on future with Phillies as he faces Yankees for the first time

Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius laughs during a pregame

Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius laughs during a pregame interview before a spring training game on March 4 in Clearwater, Fla. Credit: AP/Carlos Osorio

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Didi Gregorius enjoyed his time with the Yankees. Fans of the Yankees enjoyed the gregarious Gregorius, especially on social media, where the shortstop was a star.

But the Yankees decided to let Gregorius walk as a free agent, and he signed a one-year, $14 million contract with the Phillies.

On Monday, Gregorius faced his former teammates for the first time, going 0-for-3 and making an error in the Phillies’ 3-1 victory at Spectrum Field.

“They gave me an opportunity to play every day,” Gregorius said of the Yankees. “And [I] turned into a better player.”

Gregorius had a down half-year in 2019 after coming back from Tommy John surgery (and is 0-for-22 in spring training). The Yankees didn’t make him an offer and turned shortstop over to Gleyber Torres.

“I mean, there’s nothing else that I can do,” Gregorius said. “They showed it loud and clear what it was and it’s time to move on and put on the red and play.”

Gregorius was reunited with former Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who had a lengthy chat with his replacement, Aaron Boone, before the game.

“Good conversation,” said Boone, who turned 47 on Monday. “Good to see Joe. Nice catching up. Talking about things in the game. It’s good to see him in uniform.”   

Extra bases

J.A. Happ (1.38 ERA) continued his fine spring training by allowing one run in four innings. He gave up three hits (including Mikie Mahtook’s home run) and struck out five . . .   Aroldis Chapman threw a scoreless inning . . . Top prospect Michael King gave up a go-ahead two-run home run by Christian Bethancourt . . .   The Yankees sent seven players to minor-league camp, including top outfield prospect Estevan Florial. The others were righthanded pitchers Brooks Kriske, Albert Abreu, Luis Gil, Luis Medina, Domingo Acevedo and Alexander Vizcaíno.

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