Yankees: Gleyber Torres answers first fitness question with strong ‘yes’


New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres has about six months to prove he’ll hold the same job next year.

No pressure or anything.

While Torres’ name evoked nothing but unbridled optimism prior to the shortened 2020 season, he took a few steps back during “these unprecedented times” — and, yes, part of the problem was that every time he took those steps on the infield dirt, he looked unnatural.

His defense regressed without Didi Gregorius by his side, his bat went with it, and suddenly, most of the fan base was scoping out Trevor Story in the trade machine. Fickle business.

Potentially with the most pressure on his shoulders of any position player (well, second-most behind that hulking dude in right field), Torres has apparently passed his first big test of 2021.

Though he doesn’t have any game action under his belt yet, he’s already rectified one of his biggest issues of ’20, arriving to spring training in excellent shape after not showing up at his best last summer.

We’re not going to overreact, but “moving well” is a big first step.

Gleyber Torres showed up to Yankees spring training in great shape.

Much of the Torres discourse is unfair, of course. He can certainly be a winning and valuable player without being an elite defender at shortstop. The Yankees won five World Series and were annually the AL’s best team with Derek Jeter at short. It isn’t hard to see how they could possibly persevere with a great bat/average defender manning short.

But Jeter, of course, never showed up to any version of camp out of shape. And he never arrived unprepared while attempting to convince the team he could handle a new position.

Torres’ unkempt arrival at 2020’s Summer Camp certainly ruffled a few feathers. But when the team committed to DJ LeMahieu at second base for six more years this offseason, they certainly seemed to commit to Torres at short, too.

So far, so much better than last year.

This is just the first of many tests for Torres; he needs to look more like the 38-homer bat of 2019, a year capped by a postseason coming out party in Game 1 in Houston before everything turned on a dime (and a Giancarlo Stanton injury).

A full year with Eric Cressey and a semi-normal schedule should help Torres seize the reins, though, and all indications are he understands the expectations.