The terminology appears to matter to Didi Gregorius. He insists that he is not a “home run hitter.” Still he cannot deny that he has a lot of home runs. He hit another one Wednesday.
“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them,” Gregorius said after yet another stellar night in this homestand, one where he was 3-for-3 with his ninth homer and two RBIs in the Yankees’ 7-4 win.
“I’m not a power guy like [Aaron] Judge and [Giancarlo] Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went.”
Asked if he is trying to keep the bar on him set low, he replied “I always do.”
“I’m just being myself. I know I am not that guy that’s going to go up there and try to hit home runs,” Gregorius said. “So if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing.”
Whatever Gregorius’ intent, the results are undeniable. He’s had a month for the record books and doesn’t look like he’s letting up with five days left in April.
Gregorius’ solo homer in the third inning off Lance Lynn was a laser down the rightfield line to tie the score 2-2. That makes four straight games with a homer and the two RBIs boost his total to a major league-leading 29. His nine homers tie the Yankees’ record set last season by Judge for home runs in April and leaves him one back of the Angels’ Mike Trout for the major- league lead.
“It’s pretty cool just to see that as a teammate,” Judge said. “All the hard work he’s put in over the years. I’m excited for the rest of the year.”
Asked about the Yankees’ penchant for shrugging off early deficits, Judge replied, “When we get down early, it’s all right, we’ve got nine innings. The biggest thing is just get some runners on when Didi’s up. That’s the only thing we need to do.”
Gregorius hesitated to declare that he is as hot as he’s ever been — though it would be hard to argue — but did say that much of the success he’s experiencing has to do with a strategy of plate discipline and constantly adhering to it.
“This game is not easy. We try to get a good game plan from the coaches and try to stay consistent with it,” he said. “That’s one thing I always had trouble doing and I try to manage now and try to keep in control. I try to stick with pitches in the zone and not try to chase as much as I used to before.”
Gregorius also made a couple other eye-popping moves during the win. He laid down a perfect bunt inside the third- base line for a hit in the sixth inning. And he made a nice play on a ball he had to charge on the wet infield grass, replete with a throw for a bang-bang out to end the game. Still no one is going to forget the home run tear any time soon.
“I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”