Yanks lose No. 2 MLB prospect Torres for year

Promising infielder to have Tommy John surgery on non-throwing elbow

June 18th, 2017

NEW YORK -- , the Yankees' top prospect and the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline, will have season-ending Tommy John surgery after sustaining a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.

The 20-year-old infielder was injured on a headfirst slide into home plate on Saturday while playing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Buffalo. The injury is to Torres' non-throwing elbow, and the Yankees said that he should be ready for Spring Training 2018.

"It's disappointing to lose Gleyber," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He was obviously developing really well. We're going to lose three months of development time, plus winter ball. It's disappointing, but injuries are part of the game. Thankfully at this stage, it is still a correctable one."

In case Torres or the Yankees need any encouragement, they can look to the Astros. Then a 19-year-old shortstop prospect, suffered a serious injury (broken right fibula) three years ago this week, ending his 2014 season. He has obviously roared back to enjoy a superb beginning to his Major League career.

Torres was attempting to score from second base on a hit to right field and slid awkwardly into the plate, sustaining what the Yankees initially called a hyperextended left elbow. Torres was seen by Yankees team physician Christopher Ahmad in New York, where the torn UCL was revealed.

The date of the surgery has not yet been scheduled. Cashman said that the organization tries to steer players away from headfirst slides, particularly into home plate, but he understands that they may be unavoidable in certain game situations.

"It's a competitive sport," Cashman said. "You have a split second to react, and you make decisions. Some players react by sliding headfirst. It's something we discourage, but it's something that will always happen."

Acquired in last July's trade with the Cubs, Torres had been rotating between second base, third base and shortstop at the top two levels of the Yankees' Minor League system, generating speculation that he might join the big league club in the second half of this season.

"We were taking steps in his development program," Cashman said. "Whether he would put himself in position to have any consideration at some point in '17 to help the Major League club, I can't say. I know that where he was currently at, he wasn't going to be a consideration. A month from now, two months from now, three months from now, whether something could have happened, I don't know."

In 23 games at Triple-A, Torres batted .309 (25-for-81) with two homers and 16 RBIs after beginning the season at Double-A Trenton, where he hit .273 in 32 games before being promoted on May 22.

"We were certainly pleased with his development," Cashman said. "He was really continuing to proceed as someone to be proud of and an exciting young talent. All those things we believe will still be there when he returns to play."

Cashman said that the Yankees continue to view as their best option at third base. Headley is batting .244/.329/.364 with four homers and 29 RBIs in 62 games; his .694 OPS ranks 20th among the 22 qualified Major League third basemen.

"Headley's our third baseman; he has been our third baseman and that's what we anticipate happening," Cashman said. "I think we've covered the ground on Gleyber Torres several times; we moved him to Triple-A for his development time for the Major Leagues, like we just moved [No. 9 prospect] to Triple-A for his development. It has nothing to do with the Major Leagues."