Is Opening Day injury behind Gleyber Torres’ hitting drought for Yankees?

New York Yankees Gleyber Torres at second base
Esteban Quiñones
Wednesday April 24, 2024

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Gleyber Torres, the New York Yankees’ skilled second baseman, has encountered a notable slump early in the 2024 MLB season. An incident during a game against the Houston Astros might hold some clues to his struggles. Speculation arises: Is an injury sustained on Opening Day the root cause of his hitting drought?

What happened to Gleyber Torres against Houston on Opening Day?

The walk year began with promise for Gleyber Torres as the Yankees secured an impressive 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros. However, during the game at Minute Maid Park, an unforeseen challenge struck. In the top of the seventh inning, Torres was hit by a pitch from Tayler Scott. The ball, veering unexpectedly, struck his right thumb, leading to visible distress. Although he initially stayed in the game, by the seventh inning, Gleyber Torres chose to exit, citing concerns about his ability to throw accurately, especially critical in tight game scenarios like potential double plays.

Post-game examinations provided a sigh of relief with negative X-rays, suggesting no fractures. Gleyber Torres himself expressed optimism about a quick return, noting an improvement shortly after the incident. Despite these reassurances, the psychological and physical impacts of such a close call, especially on a batter’s lead hand, might linger deeper than initially apparent. The possibility that this incident has subtly influenced Torres’ comfort and effectiveness at the plate cannot be entirely disregarded.

Analyzing his 2024 season numbers so far

The statistical output from Torres this season paints a concerning picture. With 86 at-bats (before 24th April), he has managed only 16 hits and a stark absence of home runs, culminating in a batting average of .186 and an on-base percentage of .290. His OPS stands at .499, significantly lower than his previous performances, which is particularly alarming given the expectations set by his strong 2023 season.

Yankees' Gleyber Torres is hit by a fastball in the game against the Astros in Houston on March 29, 2024.

This year was meant to be pivotal for Torres, as he faces free agency for the first time at its conclusion. Such pressure, combined with his early-season injury, seems to have compounded into a significant slump. Initially batting leadoff, Torres’ lackluster performance prompted Yankees manager Aaron Boone to adjust his lineup position to the sixth spot, hoping to alleviate some pressure and spark a turnaround. Despite these changes, Torres has not yet found his rhythm, and his struggles at the plate continue to be a point of concern for the team.

The shift in lineup position, along with ongoing adjustments to his swing and approach as advised by hitting coach James Rowson, suggests a proactive approach to his batting woes. However, these efforts have yet to translate into tangible improvements in-game situations. With Torres continuing to underperform, the Yankees face additional challenges, particularly as injuries among other players demand greater consistency from each lineup spot.

In summary, while the direct impact of his early-season thumb injury on Gleyber Torres’ current hitting slump remains speculative, the timing and nature of the incident provide a plausible explanation for his difficulties. As the season progresses, both Torres and the Yankees hope for a return to form that aligns more closely with his capabilities and the team’s expectations for a key player approaching free agency. The coming weeks will be crucial in determining whether this early setback was merely a temporary hurdle or indicative of a more profound issue needing resolution. What do you think? Leave your comment below!

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