We had the opportunity to sit in the New York Yankees dugout before a game and interview second baseman/shortstop Gleyber Torres. Gleyber was signed by the Cubs , but, lucky for us, he was traded to the Yankees and made his major league debut just last season. His hitting and fielding have helped the Yankees to one of the best records in the Major Leagues.
How did it feel when you got the call in 2018 that you were now going to be playing for the New York Yankees?
I felt very happy. I was excited. The year before I had an injury and I had surgery, so I went to spring training and made the team the first day. When I went into spring training I did not hit well and I did not feel comfortable, but I went back to the minor leagues and started feeling comfortable again. My goal was to play 15 days in the minor leagues and then come up to the team. I played well in those 15 and they called me and I was really excited.
You got incredibly hot after you hurt your elbow earlier this year. Did you do anything special to hit as well as you did?
I didn’t do anything special, but I was surprised that I had a little more power. I just started to hit really really well.
What was the hardest thing for you to adjust to when you moved to the U.S.?
Speak English, that was a big problem. I remember when I first came to the United States, I was in Arizona and I was hungry, and I just wanted to go to the restaurant. But I didn’t speak any English, so I had to always go with my friends who did speak English.
I put it as one of my goals to speak English and try hard every day. After just a couple of years, I think I speak a little bit better.
Who is the toughest pitcher you have had to face?
Chris Sale [of the Boston Red Sox]. He throws really hard and really well. I have a few hits but he has struck me out a lot, too. He is difficult.
What was the biggest accomplishment of your career so far?
There have been a lot of things that I have been doing well lately. I have been hitting well and with power. When I help my team and the team wins, that is the most exciting thing for me. There is no better feeling when you help your team win.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to play baseball?
Play really hard, that is most important. It is not an easy sport and there is a lot of frustration when you play this game. You have to be patient, be yourself and play hard.
What is your favorite food from here?
I like pizza and the In-N-Out Burgers.
Do you have any pregame superstitions?
Some days, I like to listen to music. Some days, I put my socks on in different ways. I’ve got a lot. I like to shower on the left side of the showers or right side, depending on how I am feeling.
How does it feel to be on this young and powerful Yankees team?
Really good. With so many good players, you feel really comfortable. I have confidence with all the guys. If we all play well, we are all helping one another.
What were your feelings when you moved from Chicago to New York?
I got the opportunity to play baseball. I made a lot of friends with the Cubs, but I understand that it is a business. But being traded to the Yankees was really amazing. It ended up being a great opportunity for me.
When you make a mistake on the field can you hear the fans yelling at you?
Yes! But it is part of the game and I know that I have to make adjustments and then I know I have to be better next time.
Do you have any friends in the majors who don’t play for the Yankees?
Yes. A lot. Felix Hernandez, Manny Machado, I have a lot of friends.
What is the atmosphere in the clubhouse after a walk-off win or just a big game?
We have like a party inside the clubhouse.
Would you rather play shortstop or second base?
I played shortstop in the minor leagues, it was a more natural position for me. But I feel comfortable in both positions. It’s the right place for me at the moment and I am enjoying the opportunity.
Do you have any pregame rituals?
Yes, if I get a hit or hits one game, I try to repeat what I did the next day. If I don’t get a hit, I don’t repeat it. If I don’t make a hit with a bat, I will switch it.
How old were you when you realized you wanted to be a major league ballplayer?
I was 14. I started to practice with other players and other teams started to come see me play. They made me feel that I could play in professional baseball.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of baseball?
I like to watch movies. I always go to the movies and it is my time to relax.
Is there any significance behind your uniform number 25?
Not really. I know [Jason] Giambi had it and [Mark] Teixeira had it. The team gave me the opportunity to wear the number and I feel proud to have it.
What is the hardest thing about being famous?
I think sometimes you can’t do as much. If you want to go outside or go to restaurant there might be a lot of people outside watching what you do. You have to try to enjoy the little things you do with your family and friends. You do have to enjoy your career and your fans.
Besides Yankee Stadium what is your favorite ballpark?
Wrigley Field. It has a lot of history.