Healthy Torres has eyes on Yankees roster spot

Top infield prospect to open Grapefruit play with no restrictions

Gleyber Torres batted .287/.383/.480 in an injury-shortened 2017, his first full year in the Yankees system. (Ken Inness/

By Josh Jackson / | February 17, 2018 7:22 PM

Eight months later, Gleyber Torres is knocking on the Yankees' door all over again.

Baseball's No. 5 overall prospect will participate in Grapefruit League games with no restrictions on his surgically repaired left elbow -- and with an eye on a Major League roster spot.

"I feel like a little kid with a new toy," the 21-year-old middle infielder told on Saturday.

Acquired from the Cubs in the July 2016 trade involving Aroldis Chapman, Torres blazed his way through Double-A in 32 games out of the gate last year, batting .273/.367/.496 with 16 extra-base hits and five stolen bases for Trenton. He was still heating up after a May 23 promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 25-for-81 (.309) with two homers, a triple and four doubles in 23 games. His season ended when he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his non-throwing arm while sliding headfirst into home plate.

Video: Gleyber Torres is tagged out at the plate

The Yankees have vacancies at second base and third base but could delay the prized youngster's free agency for an extra season by keeping him in the Minor Leagues until mid or late April. Torres, in his second big league Spring Training, said he's not giving much thought to where he breaks camp.

"I'm excited to play again and just enjoy it," he told "I don't think about if I'm going to make Opening Day or go to Scranton or go to the Minor Leagues for two weeks. I don't put in too much [thought] right now. I just want to enjoy and play the game.

Offseason MiLB include

"The team knows everything. I don't want to put my mentality in that. I just want to help my team. If I get an opportunity to play the first day, of course, I will put in my 100 percent in the game. If not, I'll stay focused, I'll stay humble and we'll see what happens after that."

Torres has made one adjustment: he's been working on slides and hopes to avoid the kind that produced the season-ending injury. In the meantime, first-year Yankees manager Aaron Boone likes what he's seen from the Venezuela native.

"He's been down here for a while already," Boone said. "He's been doing everything for a while. He's completely over the injury and recovered and strong and in a good place physically."

Josh Jackson is a contributor to Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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