Gleyber Torres cannot help an erratic staff of starting pitchers. Nor can he help shake Giancarlo Stanton from his April funk. But the New York Yankees hope that calling up Torres from Class AAA on Saturday will provide a jolt before they fall much farther behind the sizzling Boston Red Sox in the American League East.
Torres, the Yankees’ much-ballyhooed top prospect, will be in uniform — and quite likely in the lineup at second or third base — on Sunday at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Torres, 21, who was acquired nearly two years ago from the Chicago Cubs, was pulled from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s game in the seventh inning Saturday so he could head to New York, according to a baseball official who was speaking on the condition of anonymity. The New York Post first reported the move.
Torres, who was hitting .370 with a .415 on-base percentage and a .543 slugging percentage in Class AAA, will be joining a team in need of a boost. The Yankees beat the Blue Jays on Saturday to improve to 10-9 and pull within seven games of the Red Sox in the American League East, pending the outcome of Boston’s game in Oakland on Saturday night. The Blue Jays are in second place, 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox.
Torres has been playing exclusively at third base over the past week, and if he plays there with the Yankees, the current third baseman, Miguel Andujar, will be moved to another spot — either first base or designated hitter.
Andujar, who is filling in for Brandon Drury (migraines), has been the Yankees’ hottest hitter of late. He is 9 for 20 over his past five games, with five doubles, a triple and two home runs. Torres is considered a better defender than Andujar.
A more pressing need, though, is at second base, where the Yankees were forced to turn to utility player Ronald Torreyes after Tyler Wade and Neil Walker got off to poor starts. Wade is hitting just .086, and Walker, who has also played first base, is hitting .183. Torreyes is hitting .417, but he has little power, and the Yankees value his versatility.
Torres’ debut has been anticipated for some time.
The Yankees intended to call him up last season, but in late June he tore ligaments in his left elbow while sliding headfirst into home plate. The injury to his non-throwing arm required Tommy John surgery and cost him the remainder of the season. The Yankees prohibited Torres from playing winter ball to ensure he was fully healed, and the inactivity showed during spring training.
But Torres has worked his way into better shape in the minors. Tim Naehring, the Yankees’ assistant general manager, has been following Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and keeping an eye on Torres.
A week ago, the Yankees felt Torres needed a little more time in the minors.
“I think it’s just getting him into the flow of the season,” manager Aaron Boone said last weekend in Detroit. “At that point, we’ll probably have a decision we have to make.”
On Saturday, it was made.