What is behind Gleyber Torres Yankees struggles

Aaron Boone insists he’s not concerned about Gleyber Torres’ shaky start.

In three days, however, the burgeoning superstar has gone from the team’s third-place hitter to No. 6. It’s a sign that his anemic .119 batting average and 0-for-24 stretch is at least something the team is monitoring in this shortened season in which results are amplified and every game carries additional weight.

“I’m not really worried about Gleyber too much,” Boone said over Zoom before the Yankees opened a four-game series against the Rays in Tampa with a 1-0 setback. “He’s been probably a little over-aggressive, probably expanding the zone a little bit, chasing [pitches]. We’re all human, even as great of a player as Gleyber is.”

Since leaving a victory over the Orioles in the fourth inning on July 30 after getting hit in the elbow by a pitch, Torres has struggled, it should be noted. He has two hits in his last 25 at-bats. With that said, he was just 3-for-15 before getting hit by the John Means pitch. He’s reached base just three times in 12 games, walking only twice.

Boone pointed to some bad luck and the young shortstop expanding the strike zone as reasons for Torres’ issues in this truncated 60-game season. But he thought he looked better on Friday, despite going hitless.

“So I feel like he’ll break out sooner than later,” Boone said.

The Yankees’ taxi squad for this weekend’s series against the Rays included a few givens. Recently optioned players Miguel Andujar and Thairo Estrada are on it. So is catcher Eric Kratz and pitcher Ben Heller.

The last name, though, was somewhat of a surprise: Pitcher Albert Abreu, a highly regarded prospect who can reach triple digits with his fastball.

“He’s put himself in position to be that guy and the upside is tremendous. I mean it’s terrific stuff,” Boone said.
Each team is allowed to bring five extra players on the road who can be added to their 28-man active roster in case of injury. They are allowed to work out before games with the rest of the team.

Boone said it is “likely” Gerrit Cole will start the opener of Saturday’s seven-inning doubleheader and the nightcap would be a bullpen game. Cole is off to a perfect 3-0 start in his three outings with a 2.55 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 17 ²/₃ innings, but the high-priced newcomer still sees room for improvement.

“I think we need to get ahead of some hitters better,” he said, speaking of himself. “I would like to see command kind of improve across the board. And I would like to see us make some better pitches once we do get count leverage.”

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