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Torres emerged as star for Yanks in first half

MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- When Gleyber Torres began his season in a Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre uniform, the standout infielder spoke frequently about remaining focused and humble, preventing his thoughts from wandering toward a seemingly inevitable promotion to the Yankees. His reality has exceeded even what might have been imagined then.

Promoted to New York in late April, Torres became the fourth Yankees player to be named an All-Star at 21 or younger, joining Joe DiMaggio (age 21 in 1963), Mickey Mantle (ages 20-21 in 1952-53) and Willie Randolph (age 21 in 1976). Now that Torres appears to be here to stay, he is ready to share a clear vision for how he intends to end his first big league campaign.

NEW YORK -- When Gleyber Torres began his season in a Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre uniform, the standout infielder spoke frequently about remaining focused and humble, preventing his thoughts from wandering toward a seemingly inevitable promotion to the Yankees. His reality has exceeded even what might have been imagined then.

Promoted to New York in late April, Torres became the fourth Yankees player to be named an All-Star at 21 or younger, joining Joe DiMaggio (age 21 in 1963), Mickey Mantle (ages 20-21 in 1952-53) and Willie Randolph (age 21 in 1976). Now that Torres appears to be here to stay, he is ready to share a clear vision for how he intends to end his first big league campaign.

"My personal goal is to help my team and try to win the World Series," Torres said. "I just try to be focused on that. If I win the [American League] Rookie of the Year [Award], I'll feel great for sure, it's a really good award. But right now, I'm focusing on playing every day. Try to help my team, try to do my job. The goal for everybody, and for my team, is to win the World Series."

The dynamic rookie has been a key component of the Yankees' lineup this season, leading AL rookies in average (.294), slugging percentage (.555), OPS (.905), homers (15) and RBIs (42), despite not arriving until the fourth week of the season and recently missing time with a right hip strain.

Video: Torres focused on improving and helping Yankees win

Torres traveled to Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday morning, where he plans to begin playing in Minor League rehab games on Saturday. The Yankees are optimistic that Torres will be activated for their July 23 game against the Rays.

"I'm better right now," Torres said. "I feel pretty good. ... In the second half, I'll know a little bit more about the pitchers. I'll know a little bit more about the league. So I'll try to have fun, try to do my job and try to help."

Torres entered 2018 as the No. 1 prospect in the Yankees' system and the No. 5 prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline. The prize of the Yankees' July 2016 Aroldis Chapman trade with the Cubs, Torres is growing into his body before the Yankees' eyes.

After hitting 24 home runs in 1,398 Minor League at-bats, Torres has shrugged when presented with the fact that he has belted 15 in 218 at-bats in the Majors. General manager Brian Cashman said that when the Yankees acquired Torres, they believed he would be -- at minimum -- comparable to the Marlins' Martin Prado. Clearly, Torres' ceiling is much higher.

"I like to be pleasantly surprised like that. I appreciate it. And I look forward to more," Cashman said. "We always knew he was a great hitter, but clearly he's swinging a stronger power bat than we thought. But I'm not complaining."

Video: Gleyber Torres' six 3-run homers

Manager Aaron Boone has marveled at an internal clock that seems to permit Torres to execute when the stakes are highest.

"You can feel him really just kind of slow it down and control the moment, and that's something that's stood out to me about him since he got here," Boone said. "You've got to be able to rein it in in a hurry if you're going to be an elite player."

CC Sabathia has observed that Torres "fits right in" with this group, and that is no accident. Torres said he speaks frequently with Sabathia, David Robertson and shortstop Didi Gregorius, all of whom have helped Torres acclimate to life in the big leagues.

"I've got good confidence with everybody," Torres said. "If I need something, I can go to somebody and anybody will help me. CC, Robertson, Didi, I talk a lot with those three guys. [They help me] to be more mature and be more experienced."

So far, Sabathia has seen Torres show a knack for handling everything that comes with playing in the sport's largest media market. As the left-hander finishes the late stages of his successful career, Sabathia sees Torres as someone who should have many years of greatness ahead.

"The youth and the energy he brings, he's exciting to watch," Sabathia said. "Being that young and playing for this organization, there's a lot of pressure. For him to be able to deliver in those moments, it just means there's more to come."

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

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres