NEW YORK -- The Yankees have dislodged Gleyber Torres from his shortstop position, planning to use him as their starting second baseman for the remainder of the 2021 season. Gio Urshela will take over as the club’s regular shortstop, with DJ LeMahieu shifting to third base.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced the changes before Monday’s game against the Twins at Yankee Stadium, saying that he sees the maneuver as a way to “take a little pressure off” Torres, who has committed 18 errors this season -- four in the past week.
“I talked to him today, and he feels ready to go there [at second base],” Boone said of Torres, whom he described as being receptive to the change. “Hopefully it’s something that gives us the best look and sparks us a little bit.”
Torres, 24, played second base regularly during his rookie season in 2018, before splitting his time between second and shortstop in ’19. Monday’s game against the Twins marked Torres’ first appearance at second base since Sept. 29, 2019, at Texas.
Torres entered Monday with a .952 fielding percentage this year, ranking 23rd of 24 qualified MLB shortstops.
“There has been a weight and pressure to [shortstop] over the past week that I’ve certainly sensed with Gleyber over the past week,” Boone said. “He’s such a dynamic player for us when he’s going well. I feel like the switchover there might be something that really gets him rolling.”
Tyler Wade started at shortstop on Monday, and Boone said he will use Urshela there beginning on Tuesday. LeMahieu’s move across the diamond to third base comes as the infielder’s right triceps has improved, allowing him to make the longer throw to first base.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole said that Torres has been working hard on improving his defense, huddling frequently with infield coach Carlos Mendoza.
“I think that Gleyber cares a lot,” Cole said. “Certainly, I’ve seen him working at his position quite a bit with Mendy, especially throughout the summer. As far as the defensive positioning, I’m on board with whatever Aaron thinks is going to help us win.”
The Yankees also plan to recall infielder Andrew Velazquez from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at their earliest opportunity. Velazquez was optioned on Sunday to make room for right-hander Clarke Schmidt on the active roster.
Ready to go
Cole will return to the Yankees’ rotation on Tuesday in Baltimore, having exited his most recent start on Sept. 7 after 3 2/3 innings with left hamstring tightness.
If there was any question about the state of Cole’s leg, he showed flexibility late in Sunday’s Subway Series contest at Citi Field, hurdling the railing in front of the visiting dugout when Giancarlo Stanton jawed with Mets infielder Francisco Lindor.
“It was an intense moment, don’t you think?” Cole said. “Giancarlo was out there by himself. We just wanted to make sure that he got back home. I mean, [Jonathan] Villar is behind him, the pitcher was behind him. The guy was on an island out there. You just wanted to make sure he was all right.”
This date in Yankees history
Sept. 13, 1973: Thurman Munson connected for a 12th-inning walk-off single to defeat the Red Sox, 2-1. It was the final game played at Yankee Stadium in which the monuments for Miller Huggins, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth were on the field of play.