How ‘Siamese twin’ helped transform Gregorius into fearsome hitter

HOUSTON — Throughout Didi Gregorius’ first spring coaching with the Yankees in 2015, common supervisor Brian Cashman had a query for hitting coach Jeff Pentland.

“He requested me, ‘When is he going to hit?’ ’’ Pentland recalled Thursday from his Arizona residence.

Pentland was in his first and solely season because the Yankees’ hitting coach. Alan Cockrell, additionally in his first yr, was his assistant and Gregorius was following the retired Derek Jeter.

“Alan and I made a decision we would have liked to do an entire redo,’’ Pentland stated. “He couldn’t hit the ball center in. The plate is 17 inches broad and he was giving up four inches of white. We needed him to get into place to hit and use his legs. You observed the power was there. He was definitely athletic and he had a variety of confidence.’’

Shortly into the season Cockrell and Gregorius shaped a relationship so shut that Pentland stated they have been like “Siamese twins.’’

In line with Cockrell, the Diamondbacks and the Reds needed the left-handed hitting Gregorius to hit the ball up the center and to left area.

“There was some pop in his bat, simply go forward and get the top out,’’ Cockrell stated. “He had been drilled to hit the ball on the bottom. I feel we simply gave him the liberty that it was OK to tug the ball.’’

Cockrell’s plan took some time to trigger a spark as a result of Gregorius batted .215 (32-for-149) in forty six video games to start out that season. From June 2 to the top of the yr, Gregorius hit .285 (107-for-376) in 109 video games.

After hitting 9 homers in 2015, when he completed with a .265 common, Gregorius reached 20 homers the next yr and hit .276.

“Alan acquired Didi on board with all the things and he needs to be the Yankees’ most constant hitter. Within the main leagues you don’t make drastic modifications, you tweak some issues,’’ stated Pentland, who watched Gregorius hit two homers Wednesday night time in a 5-2, ALDS Recreation 5 victory over the Indians in Cleveland that despatched the Yankees to the ALCS. “To do what he has executed is one thing.’’

Working with Cockrell, who changed Pentland and is in his second yr because the Yankees’ hitting coach, has turned the left-handed hitting Gregorius into an influence participant. After batting .252 with seven homers and 28 RBIs for the Diamondbacks in 2013 and .226 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 2014, when he was despatched to Triple-A for fifty seven video games, Gregorius just lately has been the Yankees’ main cleanup hitter. He hit .287 with 25 homers (a Yankees document for a…

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