DETROIT — Gleyber Torres is the odd man out again. He went 0-for-4 Wednesday night against the Tigers, extending his hitless streak to 0-for-17. Thursday, he was also out of the starting lineup for the series finale against the Tigers at Comerica Park. It was the second time in three games as his struggles and the crowded infield are leading to irregular playing time.
“Just a little off I thought yesterday, his first at-bat against [Eduardo] Rodriguez was good. Almost clipped him to left center there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Just a little bit off the last few games … I actually felt like the first week I thought he was swinging the bat pretty good, but not getting a ton of results. So I don’t feel that he’s far off. … His BPs have been really strong, so confident he’ll get it going.”
The problem is that Torres hasn’t gotten it going over the past two seasons. After a stellar rookie year, Torres had a breakout season in 2019, hitting a career-high 38 home runs and slashing .278/.337/.535 with a .871 OPS. That power was enough for the Yankees to overlook his defensive woes and move ahead with Torres as their shortstop.
Torres hit 12 home runs over the last two seasons.
In 2020, the Yankees — and to be fair, other teams’ talent evaluators — felt that Torres was just hindered by the fact he showed up after the COVID-19 spring training shutdown out of shape and that resulted in a leg injury. Last year, in 127 games, Torres had nine homers and 51 RBI. He is slashed .259/.331/.366 with a .697 OPS. He also had a career-high 14 stolen bases.
But his defense was so bad that the Yankees had to move him back to second base and go out and get Isiah Kiner-Falefa this spring. And now the Yankees have a healthy DJ LeMahieu, with five years left on his $90 million deal, who is a better hitter and second baseman. LeMahieu is on a seven-game hitting streak and hitting .306.
In Wednesday’s series finale against the Tigers at Comerica Park, Boone felt he needed to play utility infielder Marwin Gonzalez, who last played Friday night, and couldn’t keep LeMahieu out of the lineup.
“I’ve been wanting to get Marwin in there and get him a day,” Boone said. “So, and obviously DJ’s on a pretty good stretch right now. So yeah, I mean just mix and match a little bit. But I wouldn’t read too much into it.”