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Jul 27, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Yankees short stop Didi Gregorius (18) celebrates after hitting a two run home run in the third inning with third base coach Joe Espada (54) against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington

By Ryan Hatch

ARLINGTON, Tex. — Much of Monday night was about Alex Rodriguez (deservedly so), but the Yankees don’t beat the Texas Rangers without shortstop Didi Gregorius in the lineup. (They did, 6-2.)

A-Rod acknowledged as much.

“Didi’s coming a long ways,” he said. “As I told you guys early in April, let’s give it to June 15th and see where he’s at. It takes a minute to learn the playbook here in New York.

“It is different here in New York. And Didi has tremendous upside. And we’re starting to see a little bit of it right now.”

Gregorius smacked his fifth home run of the season Monday, a two-run shot, and drove in two more in the seventh with a single. The four RBI was a career-high, and his home run was the first he’s ever hit off a left-hander.

“Yeah, I knew it was the first Major League home run vs. a lefty,” Gregorius said.

He credits manager Joe Girardi for leaving him in the lineup and having faith in him.

“First off, I’ve got to say thanks to Joe for putting me in the lineup against lefties,” he said. “Making me stay in there and bat against lefties is the only way to get better is playing against lefties.”

Gregorius slapped three hits Monday and made several fine plays at shortstop.

“It’s just good positioning and getting better…early work, working out and stuff,” he said. “That’s the one thing, you’ve got to work to get better. For me, it’s really good.”

Gregorius appeared to have trouble adjusting to his new position early on in the year. Through April, he was hitting just .206 and making mental mistakes on the bases and kicking the ball around the infield.

Perhaps no Yankee has seen his transition as first baseman Mark Teixeira has.

“We all know Didi has a lot of talent,” he said. “Sometimes the early-season is tough. It’s cold, it’s early in the season and you don’t have a lot of at-bats under your belt. It’s tough to come out and be an All-Star from day one. He’s just gotten so much better as the year’s gone on.”

Since May 20, Gregorius is hitting .267 with five homers. Three of his five homers this year, coincidentally, have come against the Rangers.

“I started the season slow, everybody knows that,” Gregorius said. “We’ve got a lot of veteran guys here, everybody’s helping each other out and making us be a better team…I’m feeling really good at the plate now.”

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