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Gleyber 'full go' in pursuit of Opening Day roster

Yanks' top prospect completely recovered from left elbow surgery
MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Gleyber Torres will be a "full go" when Grapefruit League games begin next week, according to Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who plans to utilize the 21-year-old at second base, third base and shortstop while the Yankees evaluate his chances of making the Opening Day roster.

Rated as the Yankees' top prospect and the No. 5 prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline, Torres will have no restrictions following Tommy John surgery on his left (non-throwing) elbow. He sustained a season-ending injury in June while playing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Gleyber Torres will be a "full go" when Grapefruit League games begin next week, according to Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who plans to utilize the 21-year-old at second base, third base and shortstop while the Yankees evaluate his chances of making the Opening Day roster.

Rated as the Yankees' top prospect and the No. 5 prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline, Torres will have no restrictions following Tommy John surgery on his left (non-throwing) elbow. He sustained a season-ending injury in June while playing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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"I feel like a little kid with a new toy," Torres said. "I'm excited to play again and just enjoy it. I don't think about if I'm going to make Opening Day or go to Scranton or go to the Minor Leagues for two weeks. I don't put in too much [thought] right now. I just want to enjoy and play the game."

Torres has been working out regularly at the team's Minor League complex, where he has resumed live batting practice and defensive drills. While conducting a nine-minute group interview in English, Torres said on Saturday that his arm now feels "100 percent," and Boone is looking forward to seeing Torres in game action.

"He's been down here for a while already," Boone said. "He's been doing everything for a while. He's completely over the injury and recovered and strong and in a good place physically."

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Though most of his professional experience has come at shortstop, Torres said he has been working on angles and turning double plays at second base, where he played 10 games last season. Torres also said he feels comfortable at third base, where he played 15 games in 2017, even though he said ground balls seem to come much faster at the hot corner.

A more significant adjustment may come on the basepaths. On June 17 at Buffalo, N.Y., while playing in his 23rd game for the RailRiders, Torres dove headfirst into home plate while attempting to score on a single to right field, colliding with catcher Raffy Lopez. Torres said he has been practicing feet-first slides and will try not to slide headfirst anymore.

"I'm going to take care of my arm," Torres said. "I want to feel comfortable."

The Yankees have two vacancies in their infield, with Miguel Andujar, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade also vying for starting roles. Non-roster invitees Danny Espinosa and Jace Peterson could also have legitimate shots of breaking camp with the big league club, but none have been as celebrated in the Yanks' chain as Torres.

A potential stumbling block to seeing Torres in the Opening Day lineup is that the Yankees could delay his free agency until the offseason of 2024-25 if Torres remains in the Minors an extra 16 days. General manager Brian Cashman has said that service time will not be a consideration in evaluating Torres' roster push, and Torres said he is not concerned about the possibility of being sent down.

"The team knows everything," Torres said. "I don't want to put my mentality in that. I just want to help my team. If I get an opportunity to play the first day, of course, I will put in my 100 percent in the game. If not, I'll stay focused, I'll stay humble and we'll see what happens after that."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres