NEW YORK (AP) — With prized prospect Gleyber Torres on board, the New York Yankees are going young.
After getting called up from the minors, Torres made his highly anticipated major league debut Sunday against Toronto. The 21-year-old infielder was at second base, batting eighth in a Yankees lineup that didn’t include a player 30 or older for the first time since Sept. 29, 1989, according to STATS.
Veteran left fielder Brett Gardner was rested, so the senior starter on the field was 29-year-old catcher Austin Romine.
Rated among the top five or six prospects in baseball, Torres became the youngest position player to appear in a game for the Yankees since 20-year-old Melky Cabrera in 2005. Atlanta second baseman Ozzie Albies, also 21, is the only major leaguer younger than Torres to play in a game this season.
“We just feel like he’s ready,” New York manager Aaron Boone said. “We think he has a chance to be a special player.”
The crowd at Yankee Stadium buzzed when Torres came to the plate for the first time with two runners in scoring position in the second inning. He received a warm ovation, then struck out swinging at an 82 mph curveball from Blue Jays left-hander Jaime Garcia for the second out.
With two on in the fourth, Torres grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Torres was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he was hitting .347 with a home run, three doubles, one triple and 11 RBIs. He got the news from RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell, with his teammates around to take part in the celebration.
“A little bit surprised. Excited, and super happy,” Torres said. “I think every player has their dreams.”
Torres can play all over the infield, but for now Boone said the club plans to play him on a regular basis at second base, which has been a problem spot this season. New York hopes Torres can provide a boost for a team that’s been shoddy on defense and inconsistent overall so far.
Boone said Torres doesn’t have a specific tool that will “wow” anyone, such as prodigious power or blazing speed. But he possesses an excellent sense of how to play the game.
“He’s a really complete player,” Boone said. “He does everything really well on a baseball field.”
One of four players acquired from the Chicago Cubs in July 2016 for Aroldis Chapman, now the Yankees’ closer again, Torres arrived in New York on Saturday evening and said his wife would be on hand for his debut.
Torres took optional batting practice on the field with teammates in the morning. When the Bleacher Creatures chanted his name during Roll Call at the beginning of the game, the rookie was ready and acknowledged them.
He said he had a difficult time nodding off Saturday night and got only three or four hours of sleep. He was given a locker between sluggers Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, and wore No. 25 in pinstripes — same as former Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.
“I thinks it’s awesome that @TorresGleyber is wearing #25 for the @Yankees. I hope he becomes a star and millions buy his jerseys. Then when I see them in the stadium and on the streets I can tell people, “Look, another Tex jersey,” Teixeira tweeted.
Yankees newcomer Giancarlo Stanton, last year’s big league home run champion and NL MVP, said he likes Torres’ swing.
“There’s a lot going on, but it’s very precise. He’s got some cool action in there — and there’s some pop at the end,” Stanton said. “He’s going to be good, man. He is good already.”
New York also signed right-hander David Hale to a major league contract and selected him from Triple-A. Infielder-outfielder Jace Peterson was designated for assignment, and infielder Tyler Wade was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Wade was batting .086 (3 for 35) with four RBIs.
NOTES: The last time the Yankees didn’t have a player 30 or older in the starting lineup for a game in April was April 26, 1942, according to STATS.
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