Aaron Boone may not need to rely on a makeshift infield much longer.
Greg Bird “had a really good day” in his recovery from foot surgery and was running on the field Thursday. Brandon Drury, who has been out with blurred vision caused by migraines, was back taking batting practice and doing defensive work.
Plus, stud prospect Gleyber Torres could get his much-anticipated call-up soon, entering Thursday batting .372 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Soon, there will be decisions to make. For now, though, there are just holes to fill.
“The guys we’ve got have got to play better,” general manager Brian Cashman said this week.
Neil Walker and Tyler Wade were given another shot Thursday night to break out of the slumps that have defined their seasons thus far.
With Tyler Austin sitting out after his hearing to appeal his five-game suspension — the first baseman was told he’d likely know the outcome next week — Wade took over at second, while Walker made his 27th career start at first, where he had made just one error.
“I think he’s a really good first baseman,” Boone said. “It actually showed up right when he got to us in spring training. Frankly, I was a little pleasantly surprised how well he plays the position. He seems very comfortable over there.”
Walker, a career .271 hitter, has looked less comfortable at the plate. Entering Thursday, he had gone hitless in his previous 16 at-bats and was batting .173, with one extra-base hit.
“[He’s] just swinging through some pitches that normally he would hit,” Boone said. “With some of the weather issues and some of the days off, trying to get into that rhythm a little bit. I’m comfortable with, now the next couple days, we have some righties, and he’ll be from the left side, which is a better side for him. I’m confident in time he’ll get it rolling. He’s just swinging through some pitches he would normally put into play with authority.”
Wade doesn’t have a track record to fall back on for optimism, but the 23-year-old said he’s feeling at full strength for the first time since suffering through a two-and-a-half-week battle with the flu.
Also entering the game having gone hitless in his past 16 at-bats, Wade was batting .094 in 11 games after hitting .286 in spring training.
Wade, the youngest player on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster in 11 years, batted .150 in 30 major league games last season, but also hit .310 in 85 games at Triple-A.
“I’m a confident person,” Wade said. “I’m finally getting over this illness, and getting my strength back. That’s the biggest thing for me. I feel like myself. My energy level is up, you can just tell in my work, it’s crisp, it’s clean. … I couldn’t stand on my legs. When you’re sick, you’re weak. I was able to do all my leg stuff today, and feel good. I’m just excited to be back out there, and I’m glad that’s over with.”
The struggles will end.
Wade will rebound, or a soon-to-be crowded infield will make Boone’s decisions even easier.
“If this is June, my numbers will change,” Wade said. “It’s just a small sample size. … I’ve had 30 at-bats. I get two hits and I’m at .200. I’m not worried about it.”
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