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Yankees see Tulo as starting shortstop in 2019

Club still engaged in talks with free agent Machado
MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- While the Yankees remain engaged with the representatives for free-agent infielder Manny Machado, the organization believes that it saw enough pep in Troy Tulowitzki's step to plan on him serving as its shortstop to begin the regular season.

General manager Brian Cashman said Friday that the Yankees' intent is to field a starting infield of Tulowitzki at shortstop, Gleyber Torres at second base, Miguel Andujar at third base and Luke Voit at first base, adding that Machado's camp was apprised of Tulowitzki's pending addition.

NEW YORK -- While the Yankees remain engaged with the representatives for free-agent infielder Manny Machado, the organization believes that it saw enough pep in Troy Tulowitzki's step to plan on him serving as its shortstop to begin the regular season.

General manager Brian Cashman said Friday that the Yankees' intent is to field a starting infield of Tulowitzki at shortstop, Gleyber Torres at second base, Miguel Andujar at third base and Luke Voit at first base, adding that Machado's camp was apprised of Tulowitzki's pending addition.

"We've got a very honest dialogue," Cashman said. "We're excited about the opportunity that Troy Tulowitzki is providing, and we're hoping we can continue to find ways to address any need that this club has. We will continue to evaluate all opportunities that exist. We're fully engaged with all available players. Some will make more sense than others."

The baseball world continues to wait while Machado decides between the Yankees, Phillies, White Sox and a possible mystery team, with reports suggesting that he is looking for a $300 million deal. Meanwhile, Tulowitzki will receive only the league minimum of $555,000 from the Yanks, having been released by the Blue Jays last month at a cost of nearly $38 million.

A five-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove Award winner and two-time Silver Slugger, the 34-year-old Tulowitzki has not appeared in a Major League game since July 28, 2017, due to ankle and foot injuries, but Cashman said that the Yankees expected him to patch the hole left by shortstop Didi Gregorius' absence. 

"I think the Troy Tulowitzki thing is about being open-minded and reactionary and making sure we're exploring all options that present themselves," Cashman said. "I think this probably snuck up on a lot of people. We're aiming high and we're evaluating other options that present themselves, and Troy was a late entry into the available marketplace."

Tulowitzki held a showcase for about a dozen big league clubs at Long Beach State University last month, after which the Yankees requested a follow-up workout, dispatching scouts Jay Darnell and Dan Giese to attend and shoot video.

"He really looked athletic," Cashman said. "It looked like he had that bounce back in his step. ... We are obviously looking at this as a risk because he hasn't played for a year and a half, but I think there's a lot of upside here in terms of what we were able to evaluate."

Cashman said that Tulowitzki understands the situation with Gregorius, who could return from Tommy John surgery in June, July or August.

"He knows that Didi is coming back, and he welcomes that," Cashman said. "He wants to be on a team with the best players. He's looking forward to filling that position while Didi's out. Hopefully he's a very productive player for us while Didi is recovering from his injury."

Cashman dodged numerous inquiries concerning Machado, whom the Yankees hosted for a 90-minute Yankee Stadium visit on Dec. 19. Cashman, team president Randy Levine and manager Aaron Boone also had dinner in Manhattan with Machado, his wife Yainee and agent Dan Lozano that evening.

"He's obviously a tremendous player," Cashman said. "In the position I'm in, you don't necessarily get a chance to break bread with players from opposing teams very much. I had the chance to meet with Manny and his wife and got to know them better. I would report they're great people. I thought we had a great experience when they came through the Stadium and obviously when we had dinner together. It was a real positive experience from our perspective."

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

New York Yankees, Manny Machado, Troy Tulowitzki