Didi Gregorius didn’t waste much time Sunday night.
After missing the first three games of the Boston series with a strained finger on his left hand, the Yankees shortstop returned to the lineup for the finale and cracked a one-out single to leftfield in his first at-bat.
Gregorius didn’t come around to score, but the hit was enough to provide a much-needed bright spot for a team that has been riddled with injuries.
“It’s always good to get back in the lineup,” Gregorius said before Sunday’s game at the Stadium. “That’s all that mattered to me.”
Gregorius, who batted third, also flashed some leather as part of a 4-6-3 double play in the top of the second. He fielded Mookie Betts’ grounder and started a double play in the fifth after the Red Sox closed to within 7-2 on back-to-back homers by Christian Vazquez and Michael Chavis off J.A. Happ.
Gregorius suffered the finger injury in Wednesday’s 7-5 win over the Diamondbacks when he crashed to the ground while fielding a shot off the bat of Alex Avila in the fourth inning. He stayed in the game after the play, but manager Aaron Boone said he still was sore and was considered day-to-day ahead of the series against the Red Sox.
Initially, the concern was for Gregorius’ wrist after he rolled over it. The focus quickly turned to his finger; he said he “saw right away that it was swollen.”
Despite the scare, Gregorius, who missed the first two months of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, was able to avoid a return to the injured list. Boone said he was an option during Saturday’s doubleheader.
He didn’t see any action during the two games, but Gregorius did take grounders between games without reporting any issues.
“My understanding is that, especially after [Saturday], when he went out and took ground balls and everything in between games, that all went well,” Boone said during his pregame news conference Sunday afternoon. “When I talked with him [Saturday] night, he felt pretty good about where he was at. Obviously, we’ll be mindful of it, we’ll watch him closely, but we feel like he’s in a good spot.”
Boone said Gregorius took swings in the batting cage during Saturday’s night game and added, “He was really feeling pretty good about where he is.”
Gregorius echoed the sentiment: “It was just making sure that I feel like I can be swinging. That was the only thing we’ve really been waiting on.”
Entering Sunday, he was hitting .271 with seven home runs, 30 RBIs and a .769 OPS in 39 games.
Gregorius said he’s happy to be back on the field, looking to provide some consistency and optimistic that the Yankees will continue to weather their injury-ridden storm.
“You don’t want anybody to go to the IL,” he said. “If something happens, someone else is going to step up, but you try to avoid it and play the game whenever you get a chance to play.”