It took Gleyber Torres one at-bat to show no apparent lingering issues.
The Yankees’ top prospect returned to the lineup for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Wednesday after missing one game with back stiffness.
The 21-year-old stood in against Gwinnett lefthander Max Fried, among the top pitching prospects in the Braves organization, and crushed a 2-and-2 pitch to left for a double, continuing a torrid start for the infielder.
Torres went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI to give him a .372 batting average and a .966 OPS 12 games into the season, He also increased the clamoring among Yankees fans for him to get his shot in the majors.
General manager Brian Cashman, who did not return a call Wednesday, has not given any public hints to which way he’s leaning.
“The guys we’ve got have got to play better,” Cashman said after Tuesday night’s ugly 9-1 loss to the Marlins.
Though Cashman throughout the spring said that service time would not play a role in Torres getting called up — and his poor spring training showing all but made that point moot — the prospect has spent 20 days from the start of the regular season in the minors, which gives the Yankees an extra year of control.
It’s now a matter of when the Yankees determine Torres is ready, and there’s no question they’re watching closely. Cashman’s right-hand man, vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring, arrived late last week to watch Scranton.
Opposing team scouts who cover the Yankees’ system have been impressed with what they’ve seen so far from a player who missed much of 2017 because of injury.
“He looks ready to me,” one said Wednesday. “But I thought that last year before he got hurt.”
Indeed, Torres likely would have made his big-league debut at some point last season.
After a slow start with Double-A Trenton and an early-season stint on the seven-day disabled list with rotator cuff tendinitis, Torres had a .296/.374/.580 slash line in 21 games after returning.
Torres played only 32 games with Trenton last year before the Yankees decided he was ready for the next step. He hit .309/.406/.457 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 23 games after being promoted to Scranton, where his season ended on June 17. He suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow on a play at the plate that required Tommy John surgery.
Torres has played one game at second, three at short and eight at third, the position occupied most days with the Yankees by prospect Miguel Andujar as Brandon Drury still waits for test results relating to the migraines and blurry vision he’s been playing with for years. The majority of Torres’ games at third have come in the last week. He played all three positions in 2017, with the majority of time coming at short and third.
“He still has some work to do as far as getting angles to balls [at third],” said another rival scout who covers the Yankees’ system and watched Torres recently. “But definitely should be able to play there [in the majors].”
When asked Sunday if Torres could be called up this week, manager Aaron Boone said “anything’s possible,” but he also made it clear that when the Yankees do promote the prospect, they want it to be for good.
“He’s not a guy that we want to just pull up to plug a hole for a second and back and forth [from the minors to the majors],” Boone said. “We want him to be in a good place so when he comes up here, he’s ready to impact our club for the long haul.”
Notes & quotes: The Yankees announced they signed first baseman/outfielder Adam Lind to a minor-league contract. Lind will report Thursday to the minor-league complex in Tampa for extended spring training.