Gregorius says he's comfortable wearing a mask on the field

Didi Gregorius says he's comfortable wearing a mask
Didi Gregorius is a fan of wearing a mask on the field, mainly because he has a health condition that places him in an elevated risk category as it relates to COVID-19.

The newly acquired shortstop has a chronic kidney disease that forced him to miss the first two months of the 2011 season.

“It will be there for life,” Gregorius told reporters on Wednesday. “I had a really good conversation with the [Phillies'] doctors here. They ask me every day what they can do to make it better for me, so there has been really good communication. We are trying to go through the guidelines and trying to do everything we can do to stay safe. So that’s why people see me walking around with a mask on and stuff. I am keeping myself safe, wearing a mask everywhere I go. I’ve got to keep it on me all the time.”

Gregorius, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, inked a one-year deal with the Phillies in the offseason for $14 million. He could have opted out of the season and earned a little more than $5 million in prorated salary. He'd prefer others wear masks too, but understands the issues surrounding comfortability.

“I mean, I can’t force a person to wear their mask,” Gregorius said. “I’d prefer for everybody to wear it. You’ve got to get the right one, too, while you're playing so you can breathe normal, because if you are wearing a mask and you can’t breathe, it’s going to be hard to for you to breathe through it. So get the right one. ...

“This one is pretty good. It has a built-in filter and everything in it, so it feels good for me. I think wearing it will be normal for me. I am playing in it right now so I can get accustomed to it."

Neris returns
Hector Neris made an appearance in Wednesday's intrasquad game and said he's feeling fine after missing the first few days on camp at Citizens Bank Park. The reliever was on the 10-day injured list, but did not test positive for COVID-19.

“He looked pretty good,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I think he is [good for Opening Day]. Obviously, he's got a couple more appearances and we'll make an evaluation. But I feel good about him being on track.”

Pitching updates
Girardi said Zach Eflin tossed a bullpen session earlier in the day on Wednesday and is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Saturday ... Girardi announced Aaron Nola will start Saturday's exhibition contest in Washington against the Nationals.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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