TAMPA, Fla. -- For all of the winter discussion about Didi Gregorius' upcoming challenge in taking over Derek Jeter's old position, the new Yankees shortstop says that he hasn't heard any comparisons from the fans during these first weeks of workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Perhaps the Yankees' official words on the subject have filtered into the grandstands, which is that they simply want Gregorius to be the best player he can be. That has allowed Gregorius to embrace the idea of being a Yankee, and he said that Wednesday's Grapefruit League home opener represented a special moment for him.
"It was an amazing feeling, I'm not going to lie," Gregorius said. "It was amazing for me just wearing the pinstripes, to go out there with all my teammates."
Gregorius flew out to left field and walked in his first spring game, a 3-1 loss to the Phillies, and it featured a frantic moment in the third inning. Gregorius looked up at the new pitch clock, stationed to the left to the batter's eye, and realized he was running out of time to get into the box.
"I wasn't ready, so I went out there without my batting gloves on," Gregorius said, with a laugh. "I was rushing myself before time runs out."
Gregorius said that he has heard a sizable amount of fan support early in camp, but he does not think it is related to the position he plays or the future Hall of Famer who manned that spot for 20 years before him.
"I think they have their eyes on everybody, because it's a team," Gregorius said. "It's not one player. I'm not pitching. I'm not doing all those positions. They've got their eyes on everybody that's on the team. I think it's just like that."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.