Gleyber Torres may still be a work in progress, but the Yankees desperately need him back in their everyday lineup if they want to contend.
The return of Gleyber Torres to the active roster isn’t going to suddenly solve all of the issues plaguing the Yankees at the moment. It will, however, be a major boost for Aaron Boone’s beleaguered lineup.
The All-Star shortstop wants to return to the major league lineup as soon as Saturday, but his exact return to the Bronx will be dictated by how he plays in front of team officials at the team’s Alternate Facility when he arrives on Thursday. Don’t look for the Yankees to send Torres back to the big leagues until he’s fully recovered from the left hamstring and quadriceps issues that landed him on the Injured List.
When he does get back into the team’s everyday lineup, he’ll strengthen one of the team’s weakest positions. Jordy Mercer and Tyler Wade combined to go 3-for-23 during Torres’ injury absence. Mercer was designated for assignment by the team in anticipation of Torres’ return and Wade’s only hit during that span was a solo homer against the Mets. Their combined defense at shortstop might be a slight improvement over what Torres brings, but they’ve been close to automatic outs at the plate.
The big question for the Yankees is when Torres will snap out of the significant slump he was mired in to start the 2020 campaign. He went to the Injured List with a paltry average of .231. That’s significantly below his career average of .272. His lack of power this season has been even more concerning. Torres went on the shelf with only one home run and two doubles to his name.
The hope for Yankees’ management is that the time on the Injured List has allowed Torres to heal his body and calm his mind. He has the talent to perform like an MVP hitter when his technique and timing are working at the same time. This weekend’s Yankee opponent, the Baltimore Orioles, certainly understands how dynamic he can be. He set a Major League record with 13 homers against the AL East foe a season ago.
It’s still too early for panic to set in for the Yankees, but they need to start playing winning baseball sooner, rather than later. The return of Torres to the lineup should be a big step forward for the team’s hopes of making a lengthy postseason run.