LAKELAND, Fla. -- Jorge Mateo had been planning on taking a bus ride with the Yankees' big league squad. Instead, the infielder's morning included a brief chat with manager Joe Girardi and a trip across the street to the team's Minor League complex.Ranked as the organization's No. 5 prospect by MLB
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Jorge Mateo had been planning on taking a bus ride with the Yankees' big league squad. Instead, the infielder's morning included a brief chat with manager Joe Girardi and a trip across the street to the team's Minor League complex.
Ranked as the organization's No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Mateo was optioned to Class A Advanced Tampa prior to Friday's game against the Tigers. Girardi said that the speedster had a good camp coming off a season in which he served a two-week suspension for an unspecified violation of team policy.
"I thought he was very mature in camp," Girardi said. "He had a great camp on the field, in the clubhouse, off the field. I think sometimes we can make a lot of certain things but 21 years old, I was doing some foolish things. Just not everybody knew about it, right? I think he's grown up. I don't think he could have done much more, really."
The suspension cost Mateo a trip to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, and the Yankees then bumped Mateo to second base upon the July acquisition of top prospect Gleyber Torres from the Cubs.
Mateo played both second base and shortstop this spring, batting .136 (3-for-22) with a double, a home run, two RBIs and one steal in 14 games.
"I told him, 'Wherever you go, I think it's your job to go dominate, because you're a special talent,'" Girardi said. "In a way, it's a real blessing to have the talent that he has, but it's also a curse in a sense because we're always going to be watching every move you make. Just because they want to see what you're going to do, so you have to pay attention to the details and play the game the right way, because someone is going to be watching."
Girardi said that the Yankees plan to have Mateo play some center field this season as they determine where he may best fit into their future plans.
"I still really like him in the infield," Girardi said. "I think his range is going to be really good. I thought he played a very good shortstop and a very good second base for us. When you have the speed he does, the versatility -- as I told him, when you have the talent level that you have, you start thinking about what's the quickest way to get him here."
Austin Romine (bruised right hand) received treatment on Friday at George M. Steinbrenner Field and is improving, according to Girardi. The Yankees tentatively plan to have Romine travel for Sunday's game against the Astros in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.