BALTIMORE – Gleyber Torres says he is taking the step from shortstop back to second base in contention.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone decided to make the change after Torres made 18 mistakes this season, including four last week.
“Everything for the team,” Torres said before the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 on Tuesday. “I did not really do a good job in short. I made too many mistakes and I feel like we are right now, we can not make mistakes. So I feel really good to move on to second place and I will just be part of the team. “
Torres was primarily another baseman in 2018 and 2019 when he saw time on shortstop when Didi Gregorius was injured. When Gregorius left as a free agent ahead of the 2020 season, the Yankees Torres moved across the diamond to shortstop.
Boone moves Gio Urshela from third base to shortstop and DJ LeMahieu from second to third base. Torres switched Monday’s game against Minnesota.
“I still feel like his best baseball is in front of him,” Boone said of Torres. “I just felt like the timing was right. Over the last week, I felt the weight of a few mistakes he’s made out there has made a big difference.”
Torres made his 19th foul this season and fifth since Sept. 5 in his second game since the switch, allowing Ramon Urias’ potential double-play grounder in the sixth inning Tuesday to jump off a glove for a foul. Torres followed up making a tough pickup on Pedro Severino’s grounder, stepping into second and throwing to first for a double play.
“It was good to see him bounce back from a bespoke doubles ball there,” Boone said after the match. “The next game plays a really good game on a ball.”
Torres was removed for a defensive replacement in the eighth.
Torres finished Tuesday with a .249 average with seven homers and 45 RBIs over 109 games. He hit .243 with three homers and 16 RBIs during the pandemic shortened 2020 season. Torres hit .278 with 38 homers and 90 RBIs in 2019, making the American League All-Star team for the second season in a row.
“It has weighed him down a bit,” Boone said of Torres’ defense. “Hopefully this is something that can free him up a bit down the stretch. Hopefully it will enable us to go out and play our best baseball.”
“The way I played the first two years of my career, I played second and made two All-Star matches,” Torres said. “Whatever they need. If I have to go back to short next season, I will be available. If not, I will stay in second place and do my thing like the last few years.”
Torres said he has no preference for moving back to shortstop next year.
“I’m sure he can be a really good second man,” Boone said. “When he makes a mistake in defense, it tends to last for weeks. If you really look at it and really look at us closely, there has been a lot of solid play by him at shortstop. There have been a lot of he who made the routine game.He has had a game here and there where he has made a mistake that ends up costing us or we do not get the last one out and that creates a bigger story.
“It’s part of the pressure from that position a bit, and it’s had a bit of an impact. But I feel he’s capable of playing the position.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.