WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Gleyber Torres is going to be fine. He’s a pro.
Whether he starts at Double-A, Triple-A or the majors, this is one advanced 20-year-old. The Yankees have a plan. They don’t want to push him too hard.
After all, what do we hear these days in baseball? It’s about the process. Normally, I would agree there is no sense to rush Torres, but shortstop Didi Gregorius’ shoulder injury has created an opportunity here, an opportunity that will help Torres grow.
In the long run, Torres and the Yankees would be better for it. If Gregorius is going to miss any extended time, the Yankees need to give Torres a shot as soon as possible.
Make him their Gleyber of the Month, as some fan yelled during his eighth-inning at-bat Monday at the Ballpark of the Palm Beach in the Yankees’ 9-3 win over the Nationals on Monday.
Everyone sees Torres’ ability and maturity. Scouts, teammates, fans. Even sportswriters. He has been the talk of the Yankees camp.
But let’s listen to him.
Let’s hear what he had to say about his approach in that eighth inning, when he doubled with the bases loaded to score two runs. It was a single he turned into a double.
Does this sound like your typical baseball 20-year-old describing an at-bat?
“I noticed with the bases loaded that the infield was in,’’ Torres began, through a translator. “So I just tried to put the ball in play and score some runs there.’’
He lined the ball to center. He took what the opponent gave him. It was his only at-bat of the day, but it was perfectly executed. The hit moved his spring average to .464 over 18 games.
Yes, it’s only spring training and the numbers don’t mean a thing, but CC Sabathia said when Torres goes up to the plate, he doesn’t go up there “trying’’ to get a hit.
“He knows he can hit,’’ said the veteran pitcher, who has had a lifetime of studying swings.
Asked about his base running, Torres said, “Yes, I noticed the center fielder was deep. So my thought was to get to second base and hopefully score more runs.’’
That’s not a 20-year-old talking. That’s a veteran. He saw an opening. He hustled. He made it happen.
That kind of approach plays on every level and truth be told, too often in the major leagues, players don’t play with that kind of edge. That comment reminded me of when I covered Roberto Alomar when he first came up to the Padres and how he played.
Alomar was an old baseball soul the day he arrived. An injury got him to the majors in 1988 after the Padres’ plan was to keep him in the minors. He was 20 years old, the same age as Torres. He was a middle infielder, too. He went on to a Hall of Fame career.
In no way am I saying Torres will have the same kind of career.
What I am suggesting is that Torres understands the game in a certain veteran way. He has the confidence needed to survive in the major leagues right now. If there is an opportunity, give him a chance. Even if he struggles at the major league level early, it will help him in the long run.
The Yankees just want to get him more experience. I get it. And 99 times out of 100, I would agree with that line of thinking.
Every once in a while you run into a player who not only has special tools, but a special understanding of the game, one who can outplay and out-think opponents.
Gleyber Torres appears to be that type of player.
The Yankees can stick him in Double-A if they want.
As teammate Tyler Wade said of Torres, “He’s a pro, it’s hard to believe he is only 20 years old.’’
“I’ve heard that a couple times,’’ Torres said, not getting carried away by the comment.