TORONTO — Gleyber Torres reported Friday that he’s been “feeling better every day,” which obviously is a positive development as the rookie second baseman rehabs the right hip strain that landed him on the disabled list Tuesday.
But Aaron Boone reiterated what general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday: Though the expectation is that he isn’t seriously hurt, the Yankees will err on the side of caution with him.
In other words, a return before the July 16-19 All-Star break seems unlikely.
“I think it’s going to be on the shorter side of things,” Boone said before Friday night’s game against the Blue Jays, one in which Neil Walker started at second base. “But we have to get through these next few days, and he’s really not going to start doing any activities until that pain, or irritation, is completely out of there. Once that happens, we’ll start ramping him up and hopefully it can move quickly from there. We certainly won’t push it or rush it.”
Torres said he hopes to begin baseball activities of some kind in Baltimore, the next stop on this three-city trip.
“We’ll see,” Boone said. “From the training staff’s standpoint, they have to feel like that stuff’s [discomfort] out of there completely, then they can start with a rehab protocol as far as getting on the bike and start to run and hit and do those things. But we have to wait until it gets out of there entirely.”
Boone said the switch-hitting Walker will get the majority of time at second with Torres out, though Brandon Drury and Tyler Wade, who was called up earlier in the day, also are options (the three were out at second taking grounders about four hours before first pitch Friday night).
Boone said he hopes more consistent playing time will help Walker, hitting .188 with a .268 on-base percentage entering Friday, get his bat going.
“Nothing’s changed with how we view Neil Walker,” Boone said. “Even though he’s had his struggles at the plate, we know this is a really good hitter, a quality hitter. We feel like it’s still in there. Hopefully now with Gleyber down, if there’s a few more reps for him, hopefully on this road trip he can really impact our club in a way we know he’s capable of doing.”
Wade, who was optioned to the minors April 22 to make room on the roster for Torres, enjoyed a mostly consistent spring training, which allowed him to win a spot on the 25-man roster out of camp.
But Wade, who struggled offensively in 2017 when he made his big-league debut, experienced similar difficulties at the plate this season. The utilityman was 3-for-35 (.086) at the time of his demotion, dropping him to 12-for-93 (.129) in his major-league career.
Though he didn’t use it as an excuse, Wade without question was affected by an April illness that caused him to lose 11 pounds from his 6-1, 185-pound frame.
“It’s not an excuse, [but] it’s tough when you’re sick,” he said. “You don’t really feel your legs, you don’t have energy. But everything happens for a reason and I’m just glad I’m back.”
Wade, who entered spring training with big expectations for 2018 — he put on 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason as part of his preparation — being sent to the minors was a blow.
“You never want to get sent down,” said Wade, who has been playing every position except pitcher and catcher in the minors and will see time at shortstop when Boone gives Didi Gregorius a day off. “I went down there motivated and wanting to get back to feeling like myself. It took a little while, but I got back to that spot where I wanted to be mentally and physically. I’m happy to see these guys are rolling and playing really good baseball. I’m just ready to contribute however I can.”