There was a Didi Gregorius sighting in the camp of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday. Steve Gilbert, who covers the D’backs for mlb.com reported that Gregorius played catch for the first time since it was revealed in mid-February that he had some discomfort in his throwing elbow. Manager Kirk Gibson indicated the youngster will no longer be competing for the starting job at short and instead will be moved along at an extremely cautious rate. Over the next week, Gregorius will be playing catch at about 60 feet and the club will determine what the next step will be with their newly-acquired prized infielder.
The deal that netted Gregorius from the Cinicnnati Reds by sending top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to the Cleveland Indians was met with much skepticism by fans and media alike. So far, it looks even worse now that Gregorius will almost assuredly start the season at Triple-A Reno while Bauer has thrown four scoreless innings thus far this Spring. However, it seems that Bauer still hasn’t completely forgotten his maturity issues as his foray into the world of music bears out. It is wise for D’back management to proceed slowly with Gregorius even if it costs them some points in the PR department and in terms of which player fares better this season. He was drafted to be the shortstop of the future and with Willie Bloomquist on fire this Spring and Cliff Pennington on board, the team should be able to bridge the gap for at least one more season until Gregorius is finally Major-League ready.
If Didi Gregorius ends up not playing at all in Arizona this season, it won’t be the end of the world. Had he been named the starting shortstop on Opening Day, the team may not have been measurably better as their would be the inevitable rookie growing pains. The injury could allow him to ease his way into big league play with the D’backs until he enters 2014 as the favorite to win the job. That is when we can begin the true evaluation of the Bauer-Gregorius trade.
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