When Gleyber Torres was struck by a pitch in the first inning on Thursday night, he immediately dropped his bat, grimacing before kneeling to the ground. New York's training staff quickly rushed out of the Bombers' third-base dugout as Torres was visibly in pain.
The pitch from Baltimore's John Means had caromed squarely off the bone on the inside of his right elbow, forcing Torres to come out of the game a few innings later.
"It felt painful for sure at first for a second," Torres explained after the Yankees' 8-6 win at Camden Yards. "I didn't feel anything wrong, I just felt pain."
New York announced later on that Torres had been diagnosed with a right elbow contusion, with X-ray results coming back negative.
At the time, Torres stayed in the game. He came around the score on Luke Voit's grand slam before flying out to the warning track in left field in his second at-bat. When the Bombers jogged out to play defense in the bottom of the fourth frame, however, Tyler Wade had taken over at shortstop.
Torres explained that the soreness and tightness in his right arm was having an impact on his ability to throw. With Baltimore crawling back to make it a one-run contest, Torres didn't want his injury to result in a mishap on the diamond.
"I wanted to stay in the game but I couldn't throw in that moment one hundred percent," he said. "I didn't want to take some ground ball and make an error for no reason. So, I just wanted to make sure I'm feeling hundred percent then be back to play, but I'm feeling good right now."
As for what comes next — as the Yankees drive back to the Bronx for the club's home opener on Friday night against the Red Sox — manager Aaron Boone said he isn't concerned that Torres' elbow will be a longterm injury.
"He's a little sore. Hit right on the bone there. So he's kind of day-to-day with that, he could be in there tomorrow," Boone explained. "We'll kind of see how he is when he gets to the field."
In 2019, 13 of Torres' team-best 38 home runs came against Baltimore. That's the most by any player against a single opponent in the divisional era (since 1969). His five multi-homer games against the Orioles set a Major League record for multi-homer games against a single opponent in a single season.
He had his first breakout performance of the season on Sunday, hitting a home run and driving in the winning run against the Washington Nationals.
The phenom went 0-for-4 on Wednesday night while the rest of New York's offense exploded for nine runs. Here's what Torres had to say Thursday morning about why he was so successful against Baltimore a year ago and how he plans to carry that dominance into 2020:
Every night when I come to home plate I just try to do my job, looking for a pitch I can hit. Last year I think I made adjustments really quick when I faced the Orioles. I felt really comfortable. But, I mean, I'm just ready to do my job. Focus is to try to put the ball in play. Last night I went 0-for-4. I saw they did the adjustment. And my plan is to do an adjustment too. Try to look for a pitch I can hit and try to do the same thing I do last year.
To keep up with all of Inside The Pinstripes’ coverage, click the "follow" button at the top right-hand corner of this page.