BALTIMORE — Aaron Boone cautioned about making too much of a small sample size, but Wednesday marked just the 28th game this season the Yankees played without Gleyber Torres available, and they entered just 14-13 in those situations.
Torres is on the disabled list with a strained right hip flexor and could be back just after the All-Star break. Nevertheless, the Yankees had already dropped 2 ½ games in the AL East standings since he went on the DL.
The production the Yankees have gotten out of Torres’ replacements at second base hasn’t been terrible.
Neil Walker, Brandon Drury and Tyler Wade — who started Wednesday against Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy — were a combined 6-for-22 with three RBIs, a pair of walks and two strikeouts in six games, but already playing without the injured Gary Sanchez, the lineup has dragged without Torres.
So has the defense, which Boone pointed to as one of Torres’ most vital aspects.
“He’s been a great defender for us,’’ Boone said. “I know there have been errors people point to, but he’s been amazing for the most part.”
Regardless of how well Walker, Wade or Drury hit, none can approach Torres’ ability at the plate.
“There’s no question he’s been an impact player in so many ways,” Boone said. “Just the balance he’s brought to our lineup, with the ability to hit right-handed and left-handed pitching. He’s had a lot of big hits in huge spots which have directly resulted in wins.”
That hasn’t been the case with Wade, who made his second start since being called up on July 7.
He entered the game just 4-for-39 on the season with two doubles, though he has dazzled defensively.
Boone said the versatile Wade could spell Didi Gregorius at shortstop in Cleveland before the All-Star break, but he also admitted Wade has struggled at the plate.
“He’s made a couple big defensive plays,’’ Boone said. “We’ve seen his speed. We hope he can help with his bat. That’s the one thing we haven’t seen up here, but we still feel he’s capable of bringing it.”
The Yankees point to Wade’s limited role earlier in the year and the fact he battled an illness when he was on the roster in April as reasons why he didn’t play up to his potential when given an opportunity.
“I think he’s doing some of the things he was doing earlier in the season and in the spring that we liked,’’ Boone said of Wade, who played well each of the past two spring trainings, but has so far failed to see it translate to the majors.
If Torres is able to return after the break, Wade likely isn’t dealing with much time before he’s sent back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
He was kept in the majors over Drury in part because of his ability to play the outfield and his legs, which helped win the Yankees a game in Toronto, in which he scored the winning run pinch-running for Greg Bird.
“I don’t worry about how long I’m going to be here,’’ Wade said. “I just think about how I can help us win every day, whether that’s off the bench or in the lineup.”
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