BALTIMORE – Gleyber Torres says he’s moving from shortstop to second base in stride.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone decided to make the change after Torres made 18 mistakes this season, including four last week.
“All for the team,” Torres said before Tuesday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles. “I really didn’t do a good job at shortstop. I made too many mistakes and I feel like the way we are right now, we can’t make any mistakes. So I feel really good about going to second and I just want to be part of the team.”
Torres was primarily a second baseman in 2018 and 2019, and had time at shortstop when Didi Gregorius was injured. When Gregorius left as a free agent before the 2020 season, the Yankees moved Torres to shortstop.
Boone is moving Gio Urshela from third base to shortstop and DJ LeMahieu from second to third base. Torres made the switch for Monday’s game against Minnesota.
“I still feel like his best baseball is ahead of him,” Boone said. “I just felt the time was right. Over the last week, I felt like the weight of a couple of mistakes that I had made there had been shocking.”
Torres started Tuesday at .249 with seven home runs and 45 RBIs in 109 games. He hit .243 with three home runs and 16 RBIs during the 2020 season shortened by the pandemic. Torres hit .278 with 38 homers and 90 RBIs in 2019, becoming the American League All-Star team for the second consecutive season.
“It’s overwhelmed him a little bit,” Boone said of Torres’ defense. “Hopefully this is something that can free him up a bit here down the stretch. Hopefully, it will put us in a position to go out there and play our best baseball.”
“The way I played the first two years of my career, I played second and did two All-Star games,” Torres said. “Whatever they need. If I have to go back to shortstop next season, I’ll be available. If not, I’ll stay at second base and do my thing like the last few years.”
Torres said he has no preference for returning to shortstop next year.
“I’m sure he can be a really good second baseman,” Boone said. “When he makes a mistake on defense, it tends to last for weeks. If you really look at him and watch us closely, there’s been a lot of steady play from him at shortstop. There’s been a lot of him doing the routine play. He’s had a I play here and there where he made a mistake that ends up costing us or we don’t achieve that ending and creates a bigger story.
“That starts from the pressure of that position a bit and has had a bit of an impact. But I feel like he’s capable of playing in the position.”