While they may be winners of two straight inter-divisional series, the Philadelphia Phillies have sorely missed their starting shortstop over the past few weeks. The team’s offense has yet to really get clicking this season, and a big reason for that has been the lack of Didi Gregorius‘ bat in the lineup.
While Gregorius did get off to a slow start here in 2021, he still recorded 22 RBIs through his first 32 games of the season. Over his 92 games as a member of the Phillies, Gregorius is slashing .264/.313/.444 with 14 home runs and 62 total runs batted in. Not All-Star caliber numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but a valuable piece to the lineup nevertheless.
Throw in the fact that Dave Dombrowski committed $28 million to Gregorius (over two years) this past offseason, and it’s safe to say that the organization values what he brings to the table pretty intensely.
Gregorius has been out of action since May 12th with a swollen elbow, but just recently took a major step towards returning to Major League action. In just his second rehab start for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate), Didi went 3-3 with a home run, a double, and a single.
It was Gregorius’ second five-inning game for the Iron Pigs this season, with his game-time expected to be ramped up to seven innings going forward (according to The Morning Call’s Tom Housenick).
While I’m sure Lehigh Valley would appreciate keeping Didi’s bat in the lineup for as long as humanly possible, the fact that he’s already showing signs of MLB-readiness is fantastic news for Joe Girardi and the Phillies, especially with a tough stretch of games up ahead in the schedule. For as great as Ronald Torreyes has been over at shortstop the past couple of weeks, getting Didi back in the lineup should greatly improve the Phillies offense moving forward – especially when it comes to things like situational hitting.
While his numbers haven’t looked all that impressive this year, Gregorius is still a .265 career hitter with runners in scoring position. For a Phillis offense that has shown an inability to get runs home on a consistent basis this year, Didi’s presence should represent a significant boost in that regard.
Philadelphia Phillies SS Didi Gregorius looked like his old self during his second Triple-A rehab start.
When it was first announced that Gregorius had an unexplained “swollen elbow” that was preventing him from taking swings or throwing balls, there was quiet concern that he could miss some serious time for the Philadelphia Phillies moving forward. I’m no doctor, but it’s obviously pretty common for baseball-related elbow injuries to require surgery.
Luckily for the Phils, it appears that such fears won’t be necessary. Gregorius showing flashes of his 2020 self down in Triple-A is fantastic news, news that should signal his return to the Major League lineup sooner rather than later. With guys like Alec Bohm, Odubel Herrera, and even Andrew McCutchen starting to heat up, a healthy Gregorius could finally push this Phillies offense over the hump, back into the “elite” status that they held last season.