When the Yankees open their homestand on Friday, they expect to have Gleyber Torres back at shortstop for the first time since Aug. 8, when he sprained his thumb.
Torres played another rehab game at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, going 1-for-3. His return doesn’t mean the Yankees infield will necessarily be back to full strength, since Gio Urshela injured his left hand in Tuesday’s loss in Anaheim and was due to get an MRI exam.
Aaron Boone said Wednesday they hoped Urshela would be OK by Friday. If not, Andrew Velazquez or Rougned Odor could fill in at third.
Velazquez played well at short in Torres’ absence and is a superior defender, but the Yankees are counting on Torres’ bat to pick up where he left off last month.
Torres has mostly been a mess at the plate this season, his power virtually gone, but he was hitting well before he suffered the injury diving into a base.
In his past seven games, Torres went 10-for-24 with four doubles and five RBIs.
The home run has just about completely disappeared for Torres.
After hitting 24 homers in 123 games as a rookie in 2018, Torres exceeded expectations with 38 home runs in 2019.
But his numbers fell off a cliff in the COVID-shortened season a year ago, with his slugging percentage dropping from .535 to .368. And this season it’s slipped to .351.
Advanced metrics consider Torres a below-average offensive player this season, which makes it more difficult to live with his shaky defense at short.
The start of a new month didn’t do anything to change Joey Gallo’s fortunes as a Yankee. The left fielder went hitless in four at-bats and is 2-for-21 with a double, four walks and five strikeouts in his past six games. He hasn’t had an RBI in 25 plate appearances, extending his brutal stretch since arriving to the Yankees from Texas at the trade deadline.
Aaron Boone has defended Gallo, pointing to his walks, power and potential.
“We want him to get hot and hit for power,’’ Boone said. “I still think what we’re seeing is a guy that’s stringing together really good at-bats. I know a hot streak is coming because he’s not a guy that’s not seeing the ball well. … I’m watching at-bat after at-bat of his and see the quality of it. I trust in the fact he’s gonna get rolling for us.”
Nestor Cortes Jr. is scheduled to start for the Yankees on Friday against the Orioles, with Jordan Montgomery going Saturday and Corey Kluber making his second start on Sunday since returning from a strained shoulder that sidelined him for three months.