PHOENIX -- Even though D-backs shortstop Didi Gregorius wasn't in the lineup Thursday, the rookie was happy to finally arrive at his home park following a nine-game road trip to begin his Arizona career.
The D-backs activated Gregorius from the 15-day disabled list back on April 16, just as the club embarked on a three-city excursion to New York, Denver and San Francisco.
"It's always exciting to play at home," Gregorius said. "I'm looking forward to getting my first chance."
The 23-year-old has already made a big splash with the D-backs in his first six games with the club, batting 10-for-25 with a pair of home runs and four doubles. The hot start came after Gregorius was unable to play a single inning of defense in Spring Training with an elbow injury. He was, however, able to keep swinging the bat while rehabbing, hitting .423 in the Cactus League, then .387 on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno.
"That helped a lot, that I didn't have to take time off from hitting," he said. "It has paid off. It's good to start well, I just hope to keep getting better every time I play a game. I've been working on everything, and I'm still growing."
Aside from his impressive hitting and defense thus far, Gregorius has made his impact felt on the bases. Against the Giants on Tuesday and Thursday, the rookie twice stretched would-be singles into doubles by hustling out of the box and forcing the outfielder to make a play. On both occasions, Gregorius later scored.
"I just saw an opportunity and took it," he said. "You have to be aggressive, but smart too. I just want to play the game as hard as I can every day."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson gave Gregorius the day off Thursday after starting him four days in a row, but added that the shortstop won't sit much, especially with infielders Aaron Hill and Willie Bloomquist on the DL.
"When you play like he has, he's going to get a chance to play a lot, that's for sure," Gibson said. "We do feel though recovery days are important for everybody and certainly for a guy coming off an injury like that."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.