PHOENIX, Ariz. – High school.
That’s when Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Didi Gregorius last played third base.
Yet, there he was making his professional debut at the position in the series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday afternoon.
“He’s been working out there for weeks now,” manager Kirk Gibson told reporters during his pregame availability. “I want him to play; got to find a way.”
Gibson has also been trying to find a way to give Martin Prado a break in order to keep him fresh.
No third baseman has played more game this season than Prado, who had appeared in 74 of the Diamondbacks’ 76 games, including the last 16 in a row.
Shifting Gregorius to the proverbial hot corner accomplishes both of the manager’s goals, especially given the injury to Eric Chavez, who had been Prado’s main backup.
“It’s a little hotter down there, but he’s got really good hands and he’s got the arm to do it,” Gibson said of Gregorius at third. “Even the very first day he went over there to third base to throw the ball across the diamond, he’s got an extremely good feel. Like sometimes when you’re going to your left you got to kind of flail it in there. He’s been pretty good at that.”
Gregorius’ natural position is shortstop, where he’s made 107 career starts. This season he’s added second base to his resume—three starts there—and now third.
“It’s kind of the same at short but you just got to have more reaction at third base so you got to be quicker in the game,” he said.
There may be more positional movement in Gregorius’ future. Gibson mentioned he’s had the athletic 24-year-old shagging fly balls in center field during batting practice.
“Well, I’ve played that position, too,” Gregorius said. “But if he puts me out there, then I got to go out there and play the game. Wherever he puts me in the lineup, I’m ready to play.”