Gregorius makes big league debut in Cozart's place

Gregorius makes big league debut in Cozart's place

Gregorius makes big league debut in Cozart's place
CINCINNATI -- Reds shortstop Zack Cozart was out of the lineup a second straight game Wednesday. Manager Dusty Baker revealed that Cozart has been bothered by a stiff back.

September callup Didi Gregorius made his Major League debut in Cozart's place, going 0-for-4 in the Reds' 6-2 loss to the Phillies. He also made a sensational play in shallow left field to rob Juan Pierre of a hit.

"That's everybody's dream," Gregorius said of his debut. "Everybody has to be happy when you get the first callup."

A 22-year-old from Curacao, Gregorius was a Spring Training sensation defensively and left a large impression with his glove and range before returning to the Minors. He started the year at Double-A Pensacola and was promoted to Triple-A Louisville on July 10.

"I've only seen him in Spring Training, and what I've heard -- I heard he can pick it pretty good," Baker said. "You hope you see the same thing you saw in Spring Training."

Getting to be part of big league camp was beneficial for Gregorius, who first joined the organization in 2007.

"At Spring Training, I learned a lot," he said. "They taught me a lot about how they play and how I have to play the game. I talked to them a lot and saw how everything is."

Gregorius, a left-handed hitter, is still working to make his bat catch up to his glove. He batted .265 with seven home runs and 54 RBIs in 129 combined Minor League games, but only .243 in 48 games for Louisville.

"He was hitting real good at Double-A. He and [Henry] Rodriguez, they hit fair in Triple-A," Baker said.