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Always on his Toe(s), Torreyes comes up big

With Headley unavailable, utility man stars on defense before notching walk-off hit
MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- The Yankees considered calling up an infielder on Friday afternoon, worried that Chase Headley might miss the entire weekend while he battles a round of back spasms, but they ultimately decided that Ronald Torreyes' versatility should permit them to get by.

Torreyes did more than that. The utility man contributed a pair of dazzling defensive plays behind Masahiro Tanaka's eight scoreless innings before delivering his first career walk-off hit, a single that lifted New York to a 2-1, 10-inning win over the Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

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NEW YORK -- The Yankees considered calling up an infielder on Friday afternoon, worried that Chase Headley might miss the entire weekend while he battles a round of back spasms, but they ultimately decided that Ronald Torreyes' versatility should permit them to get by.

Torreyes did more than that. The utility man contributed a pair of dazzling defensive plays behind Masahiro Tanaka's eight scoreless innings before delivering his first career walk-off hit, a single that lifted New York to a 2-1, 10-inning win over the Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

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Video: TEX@NYY: Torreyes lines a walk-off single in the 10th

"He's a guy that you know is always ready and prepared to play, is going to play good defense, give you good at-bats," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You can put him in the outfield in an emergency. He's very, very valuable because he can do so many things."

Girardi noted that Torreyes filled in well when shortstop Didi Gregorius missed the first month of the season due to injury. Though his playing time has decreased since April, Torreyes said that he has found a formula to remain productive.

Video: TEX@NYY: Torreyes lays out to start a double play

"It's part of my daily routine to prepare with my hitting coach and just get the mindset that at any given moment they're going to need me and I've got to be ready," Torreyes said through an interpreter. "Once Joe gives me an opportunity to play, I've got to be ready to perform."

"He just gets the barrel on the ball consistently," said Aaron Judge. "It doesn't matter what situation, who's on. He consistently gets the job done."

Video: TEX@NYY: Torreyes on his walk-off hit in the 10th

Torreyes turned a slick double play on a Shin-Soo Choo grounder to end the third inning behind Tanaka, then made a nice backhand stab that robbed Elvis Andrus of a hit in the seventh.

Facing Matt Bush in the 10th, Torreyes kept his approach simple and lined the deciding hit into center field.

"Awesome. With two outs, too," Brett Gardner said. "It's been a long day, we had the delay to start the game and we've been playing under nasty conditions. Toe comes through with big plays on defense and big at-bats all the time. In a spot like that, we're all pretty happy for him."

Video: TEX@NYY: Torreyes makes a smooth play to get Andrus

The Yankees hope that Headley might be able to return to the lineup on Sunday after having an epidural injection to calm his spasms. They had catcher Austin Romine taking grounders at third base, just in case, but Girardi seems confident that Torreyes will be ready for whatever situation pops up.

"I'm so happy because we got the win," Torreyes said.

Worth noting
Jacoby Ellsbury (concussion) has passed his protocol testing and took batting practice on the field Friday. Girardi said that the Yankees could send Ellsbury on a Minor League rehab assignment soon. He has not played since crashing into the center-field wall at Yankee Stadium on May 24.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, Ronald Torreyes