Peas in a pod? Didi, Starlin proving great fit

Peas in a pod? Didi, Starlin proving great fit

TORONTO -- Let the record show that the first reference to "Starsky and Dutch," an applause-worthy blend of Starlin Castro's in-dugout nickname and Didi Gregorius' heritage, was spoken on the air last week by Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman. It deserves to have staying power.

The double-play combination now boasts a 1970s cop show monicker, which seemed to be just about all they were lacking as they helped power the Yanks' first week of the season. It is never a cinch to jell with new teammates, but Castro and Gregorius have made it look easy.

"Everybody's doing their job," Gregorius said. "That's the main part of the team. It's just helping each other out. We look like we're really good right now, so we try to stay on the same page."

Plenty has been said and written about Castro's blistering start, owning a pair of homers and eight RBIs in the team's first five games, but Gregorius has been just as sturdy as he begins his second season in New York.

Castro's historic start

Now long out of the shadow cast by Derek Jeter's retirement, Gregorius is hitting .333 with a homer and three RBIs through his first 18 at-bats of the season, having turned last year's shaky first six weeks into a foggy memory.

"We talked about it a lot during Spring Training, the potential of the lineup, one through nine," Alex Rodriguez said. "And you just look at what our eighth and ninth hitters have been doing all year, it's pretty phenomenal. They've carried our team."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he expected Gregorius to pick up where he left off late last year; from May 15 on, Gregorius posted a .280/.332/.404 split line with nine homers and 49 RBIs, while making strides against left-handed pitching.

"I give them a lot of credit, because so far this season, there really has not been a weak link in the lineup," Girardi said. "They've all contributed. That makes it much more difficult for teams to navigate through our lineup."

Castro has credited Gregorius for helping his transition; the two had adjacent lockers during Spring Training and spoke often, something that has carried over into the regular season. They'll talk about offense, defense, velociraptors -- pretty much what you'd expect in a baseball clubhouse.

Wait, what? The crew at Yankees On Demand took note of the budding friendship this spring, having the players reenact a classic scene between Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in the motion picture "Step Brothers." (If you haven't seen it, you should.)

"He's a really great guy," Gregorius said. "He's here to work, he wants to get better every day. We talk all the time and we're picking everybody's brain. That's why we try to keep it fun up the middle."

Castro and Gregorius were inseparable for long stretches of the spring, even heading once to a golf driving range in the Tampa, Fla., area, but they were most often found on the back fields with infield coach Joe Espada, honing their baseball (and comedic) timing.

"He made the transition last year to second base, but he looks like he's been playing there," Gregorius said. "He's comfortable, he's doing everything the right way. I like playing with him."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.