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Slumping Didi Gregorius says all he can do is laugh off Derek Jeter chants

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Didi Gregorius probably understood from the get-go that it wouldn’t be easy to replace Derek Jeter in the New York Yankees infield. After all, the former shortstop dubbed the “Captain” was a once-in-a-generation kind of player who was respected by his teammates and worshiped by fans.

But even the 25-year-old likely didn’t expect he’d have to deal with the Yankees faithful longingly chanting Jeter’s name every time he made a mistake or failed to adequately fill the sizable shoes of the retired Yankee legend.

Still, that’s what Gregorius has been forced to endure since attempting to step out of Jeter’s shadow and forge his own legacy in pinstripes.

Following a few misplays in the field during Sunday’s 14-4 win over the Boston Red Sox, chants of “Der-ek Jet-er” could be audibly heard emanating from the Yankee Stadium seats. And the ballplayer heard them.

“I just laugh, there’s nothing I can do,” he said, via the New York Post. “Just got to play the game. That’s all I can do.”

Gregorius could do himself some favors by improving upon what has been a dreadful first week of the regular season. He is batting a woeful .158, has been thrown out on the basepaths twice and continues to not be sharp fielding his position, although he has yet to be charged with an error this season.

The young shortstop conceded as much this week, acknowledging his sub-par play and admitting he understands he must play better. Still, Gregorius stresses there’s no way he can replace Jeter, nor can he change how fans will hold up his play to that of the Yankee legend.

Further, no matter how hard he tries, he’ll never be the “Captain,” a player he paid tribute to with a pretty nice sketch upon Jeter’s retirement.

“If they tell me, ‘You’ve got to be like Jeter,’ I can’t,” Gregorius said. “I don’t think [anybody] can be like Jeter. Everything Jeter did, he made history in the 20 years he played here. It’s way different than me coming in right now and trying to be myself. I can’t be like him. I can try to be me and make some improvements.”

(image credit: NJ.com)