The Yankees have optioned infielder Gleyber Torres to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a club announcement Tuesday. Torres, the Yankees’ top prospect, had factored significantly into New York’s second-base competition before the club signed veteran Neil Walker to a one-year deal on Monday.
Despite the fact that he missed the second half of the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow and still hasn’t played in a major-league game, Torres was expected by many to be the Yankees’ starting second baseman as spring training began this year. They traded 2017 starter Starlin Castro to the Marlins in December, and the only player they brought in from the outside to compete at the position was free agent Danny Espinosa, who signed a minor-league deal, though utility men Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade also factored into the competition. But after Torres got off to an extremely rough start in Grapefruit League action, posting a .160/.250/.240 slash line over 28 plate appearances, the Yankees took advantage of the slow free-agent market and signed Walker.
Torres, a .282/.360/.416 career minor-league hitter who is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, has just 96 plate appearances at Triple-A, so he’ll go down and get more minor-league seasoning and could perhaps still figure into the Yankees’ big-league plans later this season. With Walker possessing the versatility to play first and third base, it’d be rather easy for the Yankees to insert Torres into their starting lineup later on if they so desire.