While coming through the Cubs’ system, Gleyber Torres was praised for his bat and his work at shortstop. When he arrived in the big leagues with the Yankees last season, Torres did so as a second baseman, since Didi Gregorius was among the best fielding shortstops in baseball.
Yet when Gregorius required Tommy John surgery on his right elbow following the loss to the Red Sox in last year’s ALDS, the Yankees didn’t immediately anoint Torres as his replacement. There was some interest in free agent Freddy Galvis,. When the Blue Jays released Troy Tulowitzki in early December, the Yankees were impressed enough with what they saw in two workouts that they signed the 34-year-old shortstop.
The thinking was that even if Tulowitzki, who was coming off surgeries to both heels that cost him all of 2018, remained healthy, they would sprinkle Torres in at short to keep from running down the oft-injured veteran.
Six games into the season, however, Tulowitzki left for the injured list with a strained left calf, and Torres has started the past six games at short.
Though Torres isn’t going to contend for a Gold Glove at his original position, he looks better at short than he did a year ago, when scouts noticed his footwork wasn’t smooth as he made five errors in 69 chances there across 21 games.
“It looks like he is more comfortable, he played a little freer,’’ said a scout who watched the Yankees sweep three games last weekend in Baltimore. “It looks like he is a little more sure of himself.’’
Torres made his first error of the season in Wednesday night’s 8-6 loss in Houston, when he unwisely threw a ball to first that should have been pocketed on Jake Marisnick’s infield single. It led to an insurance run for the Astros.
At the plate, Torres hasn’t suffered a second-year slump, taking a .313 batting average and a .949 OPS into Friday night’s game against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
According to infield coach Carlos Mendoza, half of Torres’ offseason workouts in Tampa included time at short.
“We knew that Tulo was going to need some days off so we did a lot of work at shortstop,’’ Mendoza said.
The emphasis was Torres’ pre-pitch footwork.
“It all started with the first step,’’ Mendoza said. “Obviously he has the hands and the arms.
Luke Voit has reached base in 23 straight games, the fourth longest streak in the majors.
Published at Fri, 12 Apr 2019 08:18:31 +0000