Gleyber Torres went from underdog to one of the main bats in the Yankees’ 6-5, 11-inning opening-day win over Boston.
Torres started the game on the bench with DJ LeMahieu starting on second base, but his name was called out with loaded bases and an out at the end of the 10th to pinch hit Kyle Higashioka.
Torres responded with a sacrificial fly down the middle to level the score at 5-5, and the Yankees later won an inning.
“As a player, everyone wants to do something [the lineup on] Opening day,” Torres said. “I can control what I can control.”
Torres admitted he was “pissed off” when manager Aaron Boone first told him he would be on the bench, but was more positive about the situation on Friday.
Then came his at-bat on Friday afternoon, when shadows began to creep across the field and he quickly fell 2-0 down with two ugly bats.
“The shadows made it difficult to see the ball,” Torres said. “I was trying to get the ball in play.”
Boone praised Torres’ mental toughness.
“I’m sure today was a really tough day for him,” Boone said. “I spoke to him before the game and I knew he would be prepared.”
Before the game, Boone said of the decision to go over Torres with LeMahieu, “Somebody had to sit.”
Referring to the manager’s meeting with the team in Tampa during spring training, Boone and LeMahieu emphasized that they “remain on the same page.”
The manager also mentioned ahead of the game that Torres could be brought in for the biggest hit of the game.
On Friday, things went as the Yankees had hoped.
Anthony Rizzo got the Yankees back in the game with a two-run homer late in the first inning and then got a scare when he was drilled in the right hand by a Nathan Eovaldi fastball in the fifth. Rizzo stayed in the game and said he was fine.
“My hand is good,” Rizzo said. “It’s made me pretty good but luckily there’s nothing wrong.”
Aaron Hicks also took a foul ball off his foot, but was able to stay in the game.
Luis Severino will make his first start in a game that has counted since the 2019 ALCS when he takes the mound on Saturday.
The right-hander, who missed much of the 2020 and 2021 season following Tommy John’s surgery, already had a health scare during spring training when he developed “general arm pain” after a Grapefruit League start.
But he recovered well and served well in his last game and hopes to build on that against Boston.
Severino added that he “learned from my mistake” in the spring when he fell at the start.
“I can’t play around,” Severino said. “I have to do my job: try to get people out and get five or six good innings to give my team a chance to win.”
Aaron Judge took over Brett Gardner’s locker in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse and said he recently spoke to his former teammate, who told him to take care of it for him.
“This guy was the life of the party,” Richter said. “He was a leader. He was a prankster. He’s keeping it in here easily, so we’re going to miss him.”
The Yankees declined to bring back the veteran outfielder, opting to have Tim Locastro and Ender Inciarte in camp before both ended with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“A guy who, no matter if he was playing, would be out there any day,” Judge said of Gardner. “It didn’t matter if he came off the bench, he would go out there and give 110 percent. Fans have always appreciated that about him over the years. … Every opening day I’ve been he’s been out there with me, so today it’s a little bit different.”
— Additional reporting by Greg Joyce
https://nypost.com/2022/04/09/yankees-gleyber-torres-comes-off-bench-with-key-sacrifice-fly/ The Yankees’ Gleyber Torres comes off the bench with a key sacrifice