BALTIMORE – At last, an injured Yankee returned sooner than initially expected.
Gleyber Torres, put on the injured list Aug. 21 with left quadriceps and hamstring strains, was activated Saturday and was in the lineup at shortstop for that night's game against the Orioles, batting third.
Shortly after Torres landed on the IL, general manager Brian Cashman gave a timeframe of three to six weeks for how long he would be out. It ended up being a little over two weeks, a total of 13 games missed.
“[We’ll] have him off tomorrow but excited to have him back in that lineup,” Aaron Boone said before the game. “He’s done really well in his workouts. Seeing how he’s been moving has been really encouraging.”
Torres, coming off a 2019 season in which he hit .278 with 38 homers and an .871 OPS in 144 games, struggled in the field and at the plate before his injury.
Moved back to his natural position of shortstop this season after the Yankees let Didi Gregorius go via free agency in the offseason, Torres entered Saturday hitting .231 with one homer and a .631 OPS. Additionally, when he went on the IL, he led the Yankees with six errors, still the team high.
Regardless, it’s another potentially big bat being added to a lineup that is in need of one with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton still on the IL and not expected back in the immediate future.
“He should be pretty good to go,” Boone said of any limitations for Torres. “The three in Buffalo [against the Blue Jays starting Monday], hope he could be every day up there. We feel he’s in a pretty good place to let it go.”
Deivi optioned, but with a caveat
Deivi Garcia, one of the Yankees' top pitching prospects, was optioned back to the alternate site in Moosic, Pennsylvania, after making his second big-league start Friday night against the Orioles. But Boone said the 21-year-old Garcia, who took the loss in the second game of the doubleheader, was simply being added to the club’s “taxi squad” and will accompany the team to Buffalo. He's likely to start the third game of that series Wednesday night.
Nothing to see here
Kyle Higashioka started behind the plate with Gerrit Cole on the mound Saturday night, but Boone, who had Gary Sanchez at DH, said not to read too much into it.
“If I DH him [Sanchez] tonight I can catch him tomorrow,” Boone said.
While it’s typical for managers to not have catchers go consecutive days behind the plate when there’s a day game after a night game – the case this weekend – Cole’s performance with Higashioka figured to be observed closely. Cole entered Saturday 4-2 with a 3.91 ERA, including an 0-2, 8.10 ledger in his last two starts. He allowed five of his league-leading 12 homers in that span.
Boone said Judge (right calf strain) is coming off “a couple of good days” of workouts and that the plan is for the rightfielder to “ramp up a little bit” in his baseball activities.
“We’ll start the real progression as far as more aggressive with his running and [overall] buildup,” Boone said.
As for Stanton (left hamstring strain), Boone said the DH/outfielder is running at about 80%.
“He’s probably a little ahead of Judgy,” Boone said of Stanton without elaborating on a timeline for either.
Boone did say Friday of Judge: “Based on the injury and based on how he's tracking now, I am confident that he'll be back before the postseason.”