DETROIT – Tyler Wade started in right Tuesday night in place of Aaron Judge, who was given the night off.
Wade went 1-for-3 during the Yankees’ 12-11 loss to the Tigers, scoring one run and knocking in two with a second-inning triple before being lifted for pinch-hitter Luke Voit in the eighth.
With the Yankees again short on outfielders because of the recent calf strain suffered by Mike Tauchman, don’t be surprised to see the 24-year-old Wade in center or left soon after that.
Not to mention at any one of three infield spots – third, short or second, though outfield, obviously, is the Yankees’ primary need at the moment.
“He’s really, really gifted defensively,” Aaron Boone said. “There’s a couple of positions on the field where I feel like defensively speaking, he’s elite. You put him at second base (for example), there’s very few people that can play second like him. He plays defense with a lot of confidence, even when we’ve seen him in the outfield.”
The Yankees began converting Wade, an infielder the vast majority of his baseball career, into a super-utility player during the 2016 Arizona Fall League season, giving him extensive time in the outfield.
Wade took to it immediately and said on Tuesday that by the last two weeks of that AFL season, after making plenty of mistake the first month or so, he felt comfortable at all three outfield spots.
“It felt like another home for me,” Wade said. “(I felt) you could put me out here in a big-league game and I’ll be ready to play.”
Defense has never been an issue for Wade, who has appeared in 21 big-league games in the outfield the last three seasons, but hitting has. The 24-year-old has a career .184 average and .255 OBP in 95 career games spread over three seasons.
For now, however, that’s not a major concern as Wade’s defense, as well as his legs (he’s among the fastest players on the roster), could make him a valuable piece down the stretch.
“I feel good about him, wherever we put him,” Boone said. “And that versatility is something that is going to be very important for us not only moving forward but for him in his career and his long-term future in this game.”
Giancarlo Stanton, who started facing live pitching Friday in Tampa at the team’s minor league complex, went through a full workout on Tuesday, which including live BP, outfield work and some light running. While not running at 100 percent, Boone said indications remain the outfielder, limited to nine games this season, should rejoin the Yankees at some point during their next homestand that starts Tuesday against the Angels.