Didi reportedly will play for Dutch in Classic

Didi reportedly will play for Dutch in Classic

NEW YORK -- Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius is expected to represent the Netherlands in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, according to a report from MLB.com insider Jon Paul Morosi.

Gregorius would join a star-studded Dutch roster that will include Red Sox shorstop Xander Bogaerts, Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons, Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop and Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar.

The 26-year-old Gregorius enjoyed his best season in 2016, compiling a .276/.304/.447 slash line while establishing career highs with 155 hits, 32 doubles, 20 home runs, 70 RBIs and a team-leading 54 extra-base hits in 153 games.

Yankees hitting coach Alan Cockrell said last week that he believes the improvements Gregorius showed will be sustainable into 2017.

"I saw Didi's power last year, even before that," Cockrell said. "I think he's always had bat speed and leverage, God-given. Last year he was able to kind of shorten his swing and more efficiently get the barrel to where it needed to be, and he's always behind the baseball. He puts himself in a good position to hit, so I saw that coming before I think Didi saw it."

Right-hander Dellin Betances is the only Yankee who has committed to the World Baseball Classic, confirming that he plans to pitch for the Dominican Republic. He could be joined on that club by catcher Gary Sanchez when rosters are finalized later this month.

Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka told reporters Monday that he would pass on playing for Team Japan after representing them in the World Baseball Classic in 2009 and '13.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.