MOOSIC — When Gleyber Torres was pulled from Saturday’s game against the Toledo Mud Hens before he could walk out to the on-deck circle for a possible sixth-inning at-bat, he immeadiately thought it was because he didn’t hustle down the first-base line on a groundball back to the pitcher during the fifth inning.
In fact, it is something that Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders skipper Bobby Mitchell had done to Torres when the two were in Double-A Trenton.
But when Mitchell pulled Torres he was sure to let the 21-year-old know that it wasn’t for disciplinary reasons. But that was it.
The manager didn’t say anything else. Nothing else until after the game.
“I was lucky enough to be able to tell him. It’s always fun to do when you got a guy,” Mitchell said. “First of all, he wondered why he was coming out of the game and it was hard because I had to make sure that he knew it wasn’t disciplinary reasons because I’ve had to do it with him once before. So he had probably had a good idea.”
Once the team got into the clubhouse together after falling to the Mud Hens 6-5, Mitchell broke the news to the New York Yankees top prospect. Torres was being promoted.
“I was excited for sure. I’m happy,” Torres said. “I went and called my mom and dad. … They were crying and were happy.
“Everybody was happy. (My teammates) gave me congratulates and everybody was happy for me.”
The road to The Show hasn’t been easy for Torres despite the title of Yankees top prospect for each of the last two seasons.
The infielder had to battle back from Tommy John surgery this past June, which caused him to miss more than half of the 2017 season. Then he had to knock off the rust in spring training, which wasn’t so easy to do despite having the shot to win the Opening Day second-base gig.
But once he got to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre he settled in. Torres was named the first International League Batter of the Week this season will leave Moosic with a .347 batting average, which ranks second on the team behind Abiatal Avelino.
“One hundred percent super excited,” Torres said. “Last year was a tough year for me and after a lot of months, right now, I’m starting to play again. The spring was really difficult, but coming into the season I started hot and now I go to the big leagues super excited, happy and healthy. I can’t wait for the first game.”
When asked Mitchell didn’t know what Torres’ role will be with the Yankees when he gets to the Bronx for Sunday.
Torres didn’t know either. But whatever it is, he said he’s ready.
“Anything — defense, hitting. Any opportunity, I’ll take the same approach for that and I’ll do my job,” Torres said. “I think any player when they start to play baseball, their dream is to play in the big leagues. For sure, this is my dream.”
With Torres packing his bags and heading to the Bronx, the RailRiders will have to come together and replace the top prospect’s .347 batting average and 11 RBI.
And they’ll have to do so quickly, after dropping their fifth straight game and second to the Mud Hens on Saturday.
“It’s always good to see guys go up,” RailRiders catcher Kyle Higashioka said. “We’re so close, it always reinforces that fact that we’re one call away. Obviously we’ll miss him in the lineup. Probably miss him pretty bad, but it definitely gives us, reignites, hope that one of us could be going up soon as well.
“We’ll need to pick up the slack. He’s obviously been a big part of lineup, but we’re not yet seeing the best of most of us including myself. Once we get rolling and start hitting, we’ll be in good shape.”
Despite allowing six runs in the second inning, the RailRiders almost pulled off the comeback on Saturday.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre got its first three batters of the ninth inning on base and after a sacrifice fly from Mike Ford and an RBI putout from Avelino, but the rally fell just short when Billy Fleming struck out to end it.
The RailRiders hope that the late surge carries into Sunday’s series finale, which is taking place at the same time as Torres’ likely debut.
“We’re just going through a funk and teams go through it,” Mitchell said. “Hopefully we’ll get out of tomorrow and move on from there.”
“(I’ll) try to put the ball in the game and try to help my team,” Torres added.
Toledo 6, RailRiders 5
E: Saltalamacchia (2), Robinson (1); LOB: Toledo 8, RailRiders 10; 2B: Robinson; SB: Mahtook (1), Robinson (2), Avelino (4); SF: Ford.
Toledo`060`000`000 — 6
RailRiders`000`030`002 — 5
Ladwig (W, 3-0)`5`6`3`3`1`2
Comer (H, 1)`1`2`0`0`1`1
Reininger (H, 1)`1.2`0`0`0`2`2
Barbato (S, 1)`1.1`1`2`0`1`1
Koerner (L, 1-1)`5.2`5`6`6`2`1
Umpires: Erich Bacchus, HP; Dan Merzel, 1B; Peterson, 3B.
Time: 2:31; Attendance: 3,369.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle