His most recent step was swinging a fungo bat. Next will be dry swings with a regular bat, which according to manager Aaron Boone, is scheduled to begin “probably the first of next week.” After that, Gregorius will hit underhanded tosses, then taking batting practice.
“It’s kind of a graduation there,” Boone said.
What the Yankees still haven’t been able to zero in on is a timetable for Gregorius to be off the disabled list and playing big-league games.
When Gregorius had his surgery last October, GM Brian Cashman guessed a return date could be anytime from late May to sometime in July, and nothing’s changed even though the rehabbing has gone very well all spring.
The Yankees may have a better idea sometime in the next month or so on if Gregorius is on target to return on the short end or long end of the May-to-July timeframe.
“I would say once he’s cleared to really start throwing and taking groundballs and throwing across the infield, doing normal BPs, and he’s bouncing back,” Boone said. “Then you’re going to be in a position where he’ll have a feel of ‘OK, when is he going to be able to play in some games?”
Once Gregorius is ready to play games, he might just be a month away.
“At that point, you’re probably talking four weeks to go through a spring training and all that,” Boone said. “But I wouldn’t say we’re there yet.”
All along, the Yankees planned to be patient with Gregorius, but it’ll probably be easier if fill-in shortstop Troy Tulowitzki continues to shine. A five-time All-Star who signed with the Yanks on Jan. 1, Tulowitzki, 34, hit .273 with two homers and five RBI in his first five spring games after missing all of last season recovering from surgery on both of his heels.
Gregorius, 29, hit .268 last season with 27 homers and 86 RBI while playing tremendous defense (6 errors, 132 games).
The Yankees like what they’ve seen so far this spring from Gregorius.
“He’s doing well,” Boone said. “I check on him almost every day. He smiles and shakes his head like, ‘I want to play.’ But he’s doing really well.”