Didi Gregorius likely out until May, GM Brian Cashman says

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius will miss Opening Day and likely won't return to the team's lineup until sometime in May, at the earliest, because of a strained shoulder muscle, general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday.

Gregorius will go two weeks without any baseball activity before trying to build up shoulder strength with a throwing program.

"They are shooting for probably six weeks total," Cashman said. "That's a guesstimate, so don't hold me to it."

The Yankees plan to look internally for a replacement to Gregorius, but again ruled out top prospect Gleyber Torres, who has yet to play above A-ball. The Yankees could go with 5-foot-7 utility man Ronald Torreyes, who spent the entire 2016 season with the major league club.

Tyler Wade, a 22-year-old who was slated for Triple A, is an option, though the Yankees want to evaluate if he is too raw or not.

The Yankees also have veterans: Pete Kozma, a slick fielder, but a weak hitter; and former Mets player Ruben Tejada. Second baseman Starlin Castro may play some shortstop at the end of camp, but that is more in case he is needed due to an emergency during the regular season.

Gregorius had left his Netherlands team at the World Baseball Classic with the injury. It is the second WBC in which the Yankees have lost a player. Mark Teixeira hurt his wrist in 2013.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Gregorius hurt the shoulder on a double play, while playing second base. Gregorius grew up playing the position, but has been a shortstop as a professional.

"Those are some concerns you have when players go to WBC," Girardi said. "You always worry about the injury thing. I know it is important for the game, but he is really important to our team."

Cashman refused to criticize the WBC, adding injuries are always a part of the game.

"The best organizations deal with this," he said. "And hopefully we'll deal with this well."

On Tuesday, a second MRI confirmed that Gregorius has a hematoma of the subscapularis muscle in his right shoulder, both Girardi and Cashman said.

Gregorius, 27, batted .348 with one home run and eight RBIs for the Netherlands. He hit .276 with 20 home runs and 70 RBIs last season. The 20 homers more than doubled his career high in a single season.

"It is not what I wanted to hear," Gregorius said.

He added he would want to play in the WBC again, if asked.

"We saw the strides he took last year offensively, and defensively what he did -- that's a big loss," Girardi said.