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Yankees call up super-utility player Tyler Wade

Yankees infielder Tyler Wade at spring training at George

Yankees infielder Tyler Wade at spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 21, 2017. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

CHICAGO — When the Yankees went to Tyler Wade with their idea, the prospect was all ears.

You could say it was an offer he couldn’t refuse, nor was it one he wanted to.

Though a shortstop most of his life, the Yankees, with vice president of player development Gary Denbo serving as the messenger, wanted to begin grooming him as a super-utility player, one in the mold of Brock Holt or Ben Zobrist.

Wade was all-in, for reasons that could be described as both organization-first and self-interest, which in this case were one and the same.

“The quickest way for me to get to the big leagues is to do that role,” Wade said during spring training.

The role officially landed the 22-year-old there Tuesday.

Wade, a fourth-round pick of the Yankees in 2013, was called up to the majors early Tuesday morning and was in uniform for the game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“It’s surreal,” Wade said. “It’s a dream come true.”

Starlin Castro was placed on the disabled list with a Grade 1 right hamstring strain, suffered running out a grounder Monday night.

Ronald Torreyes started in Castro’s place Tuesday but Joe Girardi said the lefty-hitting Wade, who hit .313/.390/.444 in 71 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he also played six different positions, will be in the lineup soon enough.

“I’d like to get him in as soon as I can,” Girardi said, “because you hate for a kid to come up here and sit for a long time that’s used to playing every day.”

Girardi, in extolling Wade’s “versatility,” also praised his speed, which allowed him to steal 24 bases.

“He runs the bases extremely well,” Girardi said.

“He’s perfect to plug that need [the Yankees] have with the injuries,” said one opposing team scout who covers the Yankees’ organization. “Speed plays big with him."

The origin of the Yankees developing a super-utility player, something many organizations are doing, was a conversation Girardi had with Denbo two years ago. They quickly focused on Wade, whom they began moving around the diamond during the 2016 Arizona Fall League.

“I talked to Gary about creating that guy that could play all over the field and they felt like he was a perfect candidate,” Girardi said. “The important thing, for me, is when you have a guy like that, can he play short? Because then you feel if he can play short, you can move him anywhere, and he’s done a good job.”

With Scranton this season, Wade started 12 games at second base, 10 at third base, 43 at shortstop, two in leftfield, two in centerfield and one in rightfield.

“I’ve taken to it very well,” Wade said of moving around. “I’ve had a lot of help with a lot of coordinators and coaches in spring training and that continued in Scranton, so I feel good.”

One of those coaches was third base and infield coach Joe Espada.

“For me, the most important thing is, he embraced it,” Espada said. “As a young player, to take up that challenge and do whatever it is to help the team win, you want those guys.”

Wade, a California native who had his parents, brother and two cousins in attendance Tuesday, was excited about his opportunity and fans no doubt are enthused about yet another prospect getting a chance. But Castro’s shoes will not be easy to fill.

The second baseman was very much in the running for an All-Star bid, hitting .315/.350/.422 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs and starting 73 of the Yankees’ first 74 games.

“He’s meant a lot to us,” Girardi said. “Some guys have to step up. But Castro, he’s a tough kid that plays every day. We’re going to miss him.”

The Yankees are cornering the market on players whose first name is Tyler. Their four Tylers:

Tyler Wade, INF

Tyler Austin, 1B

Tyler Clippard, RHP

Tyler Webb, LHP


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