TAMPA, Fla. -- Gleyber Torres' swing has exhibited some signs of rust following a nine-month layoff from game action, but the Yankees are confident that their top prospect is on the right track.Returning from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow performed in June, the 21-year-old Torres had three hits
TAMPA, Fla. -- Gleyber Torres' swing has exhibited some signs of rust following a nine-month layoff from game action, but the Yankees are confident that their top prospect is on the right track.
Returning from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow performed in June, the 21-year-old Torres had three hits through 23 Grapefruit League at-bats (.130), sitting out Monday's game, a 2-1 loss to the Twins.
"It's not easy to take off nine months and come back to play very well," Torres said. "I want to be fine every at-bat. I'll try to put in the work again, try to help my team every time and try to work. Right now it's not that good, but soon it's coming, for sure."
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Torres is rated the No. 5 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, and the second-best infield prospect, behind only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays. A converted shortstop, Torres said he feels "comfortable and confident" at second base, where he has been logging most of his reps.
"At any position, I try to be better, try and help my team," Torres said. "That is the key, that I feel 100 percent in that and help my team."
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said on Monday that he has been impressed by Torres' internal clock and presence, and that Torres' bat will soon catch up.
"I think we've kind of seen him wanting to make up for lost time, wanting to prove himself a little bit to a degree," Boone said. "From what I've seen, obviously he's about as highly touted as anyone. That's only been confirmed in my eyes, and it may even be taken to another level. There's no question to me the kind of player he is and is going to be."
To add infielder Neil Walker to the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated outfielder Jake Cave for assignment. They also released infielder Danny Espinosa and re-assigned infielder Kyle Holder to Minor League camp.
"Given the Neil Walker addition, we felt it was the right thing to give him an opportunity to catch on somewhere else," general manager Brian Cashman said of Espinosa, who had four hits in 25 spring at-bats (.160), including a double and homer.
• Walker joins infield mix on 1-year deal
Tale of two springs
Masahiro Tanaka enjoyed a dominant Grapefruit League run last year, limiting opponents to one earned run over 23 2/3 innings, a sparkling 0.38 ERA. He has been more touchable this spring, permitting six runs and eight hits through 5 1/3 innings (10.13 ERA), including Bobby Wilson's two-run homer Monday.
"I'm not looking at the results at all," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I'm just going in there with a theme, trying to work on what I need to work on. Just comparing with last spring, even though the results may be different, I feel better than last spring."
Boone indicated that Walker's arrival should not impact Tyler Wade's chances of making the Opening Day roster. Wade is in competition for the starting second-base job but could also see time at a variety of positions, including three infield spots and the outfield.
"When you talk about versatility, I think that's one of the things that gets us really excited about him, because he's such a good athlete and we feel that he can thrive in so many different roles," Boone said. "I don't think anything changes with Tyler. He's very much in that mix."
Carsten Sabathia will make his second spring start on Tuesday as the Yankees host the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Jordan Zimmermann will start the 1:05 p.m. ET contest for Detroit. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.