ARLINGTON, Texas — Didi Gregorius returned to the Yankees lineup Monday night after Aaron Boone gave the slumping shortstop a two-day break that was intended to be more mental than physical.
Gregorius brought a 1-for-45 skid into the game. It went to 1-for-48 before he hit a double in the sixth inning and he went 1-for-5.
“I’m excited that Didi’s back in our lineup and seeing him out at shortstop,” Boone said before the game. “I won’t get caught up one way or the other if he goes out and the results happen tonight or not. I know over time the results will be there and I’m confident of that. Excited he’s back because he makes us better when he’s in there.”
Gregorius hit cleanup and lined out his first time up, grounded out in the third and struck out twice.
“I just felt like tonight against that team it’s better to space out the lefties a little bit,” Boone said.
Hot corner comfort
Wanting to give Miguel Andujar a day off, Boone started Neil Walker at third base, just his 18th career start there and first since last Aug. 30 with Milwaukee. Boone said he had no concerns.
“He just seemed very comfortable [there],” Boone said. “We feel really good he’s going to able to make the routine play over there. I’m not too worried.”
Walker had a homer and a double in five trips.
Fans headed to Sunday’s game against the Angels at the Stadium will see Masahiro Tanaka, Monday night’s starter, take the mound against fellow countryman, and baseball’s biggest story to this point, two-way standout Shohei Ohtani.
“Obviously Ohtani has real ly burst on the scene as one of the talks of baseball,” Boone said. “I’m sure there will be a little extra buzz if it was Ohtani vs. Masa. If that happens, that’ll be fun to be a part of.”