Gregorius can't suppress smiles after first homer

Prospect becomes seventh D-back to homer in first at-bat with team

Gregorius can't suppress smiles after first homer

NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius tried to keep his emotions in check as he rounded the bases.

He did a good job of it until he got between second and third. That's when a giant smile took over his face.

"I was really happy rounding the bases," Gregorius said. "At first I was trying not to smile, but then I smiled anyway."

No one will begrudge Gregorius the his joy at hitting his first big league homer in his first at-bat as a D-back. While it was not his first Major League at-bat -- he had 20 at-bats for the Reds last year -- it took place in Yankee Stadium, a place he said he always dreamed of playing.

The D-backs acquired Gregorius last December from the Reds in a three-team deal that sent pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to Cleveland.

Two weeks after the trade, Gregorius, the D-backs' No. 3 prospect and No. 63 overall prospect according to MLB.com, injured his elbow playing catch and he did not begin throwing a baseball again until Spring Training was well underway. The plan was to take things slowly with Gregorius and he was probably going to stay with Triple-A Reno at the end of his injury rehab assignment.

But when second baseman Aaron Hill was lost for four to six weeks with a broken hand, the D-backs activated Gregorius and he made his first start on Thursday.

Not only did Gregorius hit a homer in his first at-bat, he did so on the first pitch he saw from Phil Hughes.

"I am, let's put it this way, a little bit aggressive at the plate," Gregorius said. "I try to be patient, too, sometimes. He threw me a first-pitch fastball. I saw he was throwing first-pitch fastballs to everybody, so I decided why not take a swing at it?"

Gregorius became the seventh player to homer in his first at-bat with the D-backs, joining Alex Cabrera, Bobby Estalella, Jose Cruz Jr., Felipe Lopez, Gerardo Parra and John Hester. He is the first of the group to do it on the first pitch.

Gregorius' homer was caught by a fan wearing a D-backs hat and shirt.

Following the game, Gregorius met with the fan and traded a signed baseball for the home-run ball.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.