Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius to hold clinics in New Zealand in January
New Zealand baseball players will have the opportunity to train with one of the best young players in the business next month when Major League Baseball shortstop Didi Gregorius lands in the country.
After six months of negotiations, Baseball New Zealand has secured a visit by New York Yankee Gregorius, who will visit Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland in mid-January.
Gregorius was signed by the Yankees in 2014 as the replacement for long-time shortstop and 14-time MLB all star Derek Jeter, having spent time with the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks prior to his move to the Bronx.
At just 26-years-old, the Dutch infielder's put up strong numbers after replacing the former Yankee captain, and the best is surely yet to come for him as one of the key pillars in the Yankees' rebuilding process.
Baseball New Zealand CEO Ryan Flynn said having Gregorius agree to come over was a huge coup for their programme.
"We've had great support from professional players over the past five to six years including "Adopted Kiwi" Mark Melancon, Nick Hundley and Paul Goldschmidt, and Didi's visit will compliment a lot of the work these previous visitors have done on our behalf.
"Bringing a player from the most storied Major League Baseball franchise ever is a fantastic boost for the sport here and will only help us to cement our place on the New Zealand sporting landscape."
"Didi's career is just starting to take off, and he's a cornerstone of the Yankees youth movement.
In an online exchange with Baseball New Zealand, Gregorius said he couldn't wait to land in New Zealand.
"One of my greatest passions in life is giving back and working with younger players. I am excited to share some of my baseball knowledge with the young players and coaches of New Zealand and hopefully make them Yankees fans.
"I hope to bring more attention and an added excitement about baseball to New Zealand and hopefully we'll see some of these young players in the big leagues one day."
Gregorius finished last season with a career high of 20 home runs and has developed into threat at the plate while proving to be a solid defender.
Gregorius will arrive on 9th January, with a visit to Christchurch on the 10th and 11th and he will head to Wellington for the night of the 15th of January, with the remainder of his time spent in Auckland till he departs on the 19th.
A detailed schedule will be released as soon as it becomes available, and there will be opportunities for fans to meet Gregorius on several stops in his itinerary.