Yankees injury update: Catcher forced out of Pirates game after terrifying blow

Yankees catcher and DH Luis Torrens

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During Friday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Steinbrenner Field, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone made a hasty exit from the dugout. The incident, which occurred in the sixth inning, was prompted by concern for catcher Luis Torrens. Torrens had crouched down behind home plate with his head lowered, which raised a red flag for Boone.

In a post-game interview from his office, Boone provided insight into his immediate reaction. The Yankees manager admitted that he had feared Torrens might have suffered a broken hand, which explained the urgency of his actions on the field.

Instead of making contact with the pitch, Brannigan’s swing redirected Torrens’ throw right back at the catcher. The ball struck the Yankees catcher directly in the face, knocking his mask off and causing him to collapse to the ground. The impact of the collision caused the baseball to roll harmlessly into foul territory.

Alarmed by the situation, Yankees manager Boone and a trainer immediately rushed to the aid of the injured catcher. After a thorough examination, it was determined that Torrens was primarily experiencing dizziness as a result of the ball striking his cheek and jaw.

In a post-game interview, Boone expressed relief, stating that he believed Torrens would be okay despite the scary nature of the incident.


Torrens impressive for Yankees

Luis Torrens, who received a non-roster invitation to participate in the Yankees’ spring training, has been making a strong impression among a competitive group of catchers. Yankees manager Aaron Boone has expressed confidence in Torrens and four other catchers from the team’s camp, considering them for big-league games. While only three of them—Jose Trevino, Austin Wells, and Ben Rortvedt—have a realistic chance of making the major league roster, Torrens remains in the mix.

However, Rortvedt faces challenges in securing a spot due to his lack of minor-league options. In contrast, Torrens, who signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees during the offseason, could provide valuable depth in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre if he doesn’t make the final roster.

Despite his limited playing time in Friday’s game, Torrens has been showcasing his skills throughout spring training, posting an impressive .316 batting average (6-for-19) with two home runs in 13 games. The 27-year-old brings valuable experience from his previous six seasons in the major leagues, having played for the San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, and Chicago Cubs before joining the Yankees.

Yankees Clarke Schmidt in action during 2024 spring training.

Schmidt wins over Yankees

In his fourth spring training start, young pitcher Clarke Schmidt delivered an impressive performance that turned heads. The right-hander threw 3 1/3 innings of outstanding one-run baseball, showcasing his potential for the upcoming season.

Although a solo home run to Jack Brannigan in the third inning was the only blemish on his record, Schmidt emerged from the start feeling that it was his sharpest outing of the spring so far. He demonstrated effective command of the strike zone, consistently hitting his spots with his pitches. This control translated to an impressive strikeout total of five, highlighting his ability to overpower hitters.

Despite the one mistake pitch that resulted in the home run, Schmidt expressed satisfaction with his overall velocity. He felt that his mechanics were smooth, keeping his body in sync throughout his time on the mound. His ability to navigate early baserunners and avoid issuing walks further bolstered his confidence in his performance. Overall, Schmidt left the game with a positive outlook on his development and a readiness to contribute to the Yankees’ pitching staff in the upcoming season.

Torres leads from the front

In an impressive display of offensive prowess, second baseman Gleyber Torres continued his red-hot streak during spring training. He had a perfect 2-for-2 performance at the plate, hitting both a double and a home run to right-center field. This extends his impressive spring showing to a .323 batting average (10-for-31) with an outstanding 1.063 OPS. Torres has also hit three home runs and three doubles in just 12 Grapefruit League games.

Teammate Austin Wells also contributed to the offensive surge, adding another hit to his tally and boosting his spring average to a solid .320 (8-for-25).

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is at Tampa during the 2024 spring training.

On the pitching front, there is positive news for the Yankees. Their ace, Gerrit Cole, is expected to return to camp on Saturday following his crucial visit with Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. Although details regarding the official treatment plan for Cole’s injury have not been released yet, there is optimism that he will be able to avoid undergoing Tommy John surgery. Based on evaluations from both Dr. ElAttrache and the Yankees’ medical staff, it is anticipated that Cole will focus on rest and rehabilitation to recover and return to the mound.

Aaron Judge took a step in the right direction on Friday as he continues to recover from a core injury. According to reports from Steinbrenner Field, the Yankees slugger swung a bat for the first time since experiencing abdominal discomfort last Sunday. Although the initial plan was for Judge to return to spring training games on Saturday, manager Aaron Boone indicated before Friday’s game that Judge’s return might be postponed.

Yankees' Aaron Judge at spring training 2024.
New York Post

The Yankees are prioritizing a complete recovery for Judge and are not rushing him back into action for non-essential preseason games. They consider the injury to be minor and expect it to be a short-term issue.

In a separate announcement, Boone revealed that left-hander Nestor Cortes will be the Yankees’ Opening Day starter. Cortes will take the mound against the Houston Astros on March 28th to kick off the regular season.

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