No. 1 prospect has been playing third base following promotion to Triple-A
By Matthew Martell
NEW YORK -- Third baseman Chase Headley was not in the Yankees' lineup Saturday against the Athletics, an interesting move considering his recent struggles at the plate and recent promotion of the team's top prospect, Gleyber Torres, to Triple-A.
Manager Joe Girardi has said the 20-year-old Torres is still some time away from being called up to the big leagues. But if Headley continues to struggle, it may push the Yankees to reconsider the length of Torres' wait.
"I might give [Headley] a day or two off," Girardi said before Saturday's game. "I just feel like Head is in that situation where he is just frustrated and trying too hard, so we'll give him a day or two to work on some things and get back on track."
Headley entered Saturday batting .147 (11-for-75) since the start of May, with a .395 OPS. He has struck out in 36 percent of his at-bats over that span. Meanwhile, Torres was batting .273 with five homers and an .863 OPS with Double-A Trenton before his callup. He's 3-for-9 since arriving in Scranton.
Girardi's reasons to leave Torres down in the Minors include his lack of familiarity at third base and the nature of Headley's slump, which Girardi has said is somewhat due to "bad luck."
Torres has played third baseman in all three of his games since his promotion, after playing mostly shortstop in Double-A.
Before Friday's game, Girardi said while Headley's slump is evident, he hasn't been nearly as bad as his numbers suggest, as several hard-hit balls have resulted in outs.
However, it seems Headley's 0-for-3 game Friday with two strikeouts was the tipping point in the manager's eyes, indicating that the switch-hitter needed a little time to regroup and work things out.
"You feel for him, because I know how hard Head wants it and how hard Head works," Girardi said. "You can see that there's frustration there, and he'll come out of it."
He added: "As I said, I thought his at-bats have been pretty good. Sometimes you can get frustrated and it's good to have a day off to work on some things."
• First baseman Greg Bird took batting practice on the field before Saturday's game. He'll leave for Tampa on Sunday to ready for his rehabilitation stint with the Yankees' Class A Advanced club.
• Left-hander Aroldis Chapman began throwing Saturday, marking a significant step toward the closer's return from the disabled list, on which he placed two weeks ago. Despite the progress, the Yanks' closer said through an interpreter that recovering from his inflamed left-shoulder injury is a "slow process."
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.