Gregorius Draws Attention In Reds Camp
GOODYEAR, Ariz.—Didi Gregorius was the player who turned heads early in Reds camp.
The 22-year-old shortstop came in with a reputation as a slick fielder and lived up to it. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, a senior adviser to general manager Walt Jocketty, was telling people Gregorius was ready to play shortstop in the big leagues right now.
Gregorius was born in Amsterdam and grew up in Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles.
"I started as a pitcher," he said. "It was a family thing. My father pitched. My brother pitched. They moved me to second, then third. I started playing short when I was about 15."
Given his arm strength, it's natural that Gregorius got a trial at pitcher. He has earned best infield arm recognition in the last two seasons in Baseball America's Best Tools surveys—in the low Class A Midwest League in 2010 and the high Class A Carolina League last year.
"I heard about him from people in Dayton and some of the people in camp," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I had a long talk with him about his family. He's an impressive young man. What impressed me most is he speaks four languages."
Gregorius speaks English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamento and played for the Netherlands' 2011 World Cup championship team. Gregorius, who signed in 2007, hit a combined .289/.324/.429 in 84 games at high Class A Bakersfield and Double-A Carolina. He cut his errors down to 21.
"I really worked on my defense," he said. "I tried to slow myself down and nut rush throws."
• Righthander Kyle Lotzkar, 22, was enjoying his first big league camp after Tommy John surgery and a stress fracture in his throwing arm. "Everything is good," he said. "I've done a lot of work with mechanics to take stress off my arm."
• Lefthander Clay Zavada, who is from Streator, Ill., said he signed a minor league deal with the Reds because it's close to home for him and his family.