How Gleyber Torres' Glasses Continue to Spark Yankees' Success
NEW YORK — Long before Gleyber Torres stepped up to the plate on Sunday afternoon, pinch-hitting in the eighth inning with the game on the line, the shortstop began his preparation.
Torres first started to stretch in the fifth inning, taking some swings off a machine before settling down and getting ready mentally to help his team. After all, through Torres's first three seasons, he was still in search of his first base hit as a pinch hitter.
Mental and physical prep aside, however, there's one more vital component to the phenom's routine before he took the field. It's a step that may seem trivial, but has been integral in igniting New York's recent five-game winning streak.
Gleyber Torres put on his glasses.
"We noticed that last year and then when he put them on this year, when he does wear those, it does seem like—I don’t know if it’s true—but even before these last couple games, it has seemed in the past like he’s done really well with them," Yankees' manager Aaron Boone said.
Torres first donned his clear specs on Wednesday in Buffalo. At that point, the Bombers were reeling, losers of 15 of their last 20 games. That night, however, Torres went 2-for-5 with a booming home run and season-high four runs batted in, paving the way to halting a five-game losing streak.
Since then, as his skipper alluded to, Torres has been swinging a scalding hot bat. In his last five games—including five wins in a row for New York—the shortstop is hitting .500 (7-for-14) with seven RBI, four extra base hits and an OPS of 1.491.
"I feel really good with the glasses," Torres said on Sunday. "Last year I used them and played really well, like I said a couple days ago. I'll continue to use them. I feel like I’m helping the team and we won so I’m going to continue to wear them and try to do the same thing that I’m doing right now."
On that Wednesday night in Buffalo, Torres called his glasses "good luck" and referred to them as a "superstition" of his. As he came in to pinch-hit on Sunday, that good luck continued.
Two pitches into his at-bat, in a game knotted at one run apiece, the 23-year-old drove a double that skipped off the base of the right-center field wall. New York's dugout erupted as both outfielders Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier scampered around to score.
As Frazier evaded the tag from Baltimore's catcher Pedro Severino, hooking his slide around home plate, the Bombers had took a 3-1 lead, one they wouldn't relinquish.
"Gleyber, since he’s come back [from injury], has been in a pretty good place in the box with his swing decisions," Boone said. "I feel like he’s controlling the zone really well, he’s under control and calm and with that, we’ve started to see the results start to follow."
Since Torres was reinstated from the IL on Sept. 5, after missing two weeks with Grade 1 strains in his left hamstring and quad, the shortstop is hitting .360 (9-for-25) in nine games.
Torres cleared up that his glasses are not prescription, as he always wears contacts when playing, but the transparent specs do help him "see a little bit clearer." In his eyes, there's no reason to take them off considering how well he and his team have been playing over the las week.
"I just feel good, that’s the most important thing for me, if I feel good and hit good, what can I do? I’ll just continue to use them."
Asked if he believes in superstitions, or if he simply thinks Torres' vision has improved with the glasses on, Boone recalled a moment last week when the glasses made their 2020 debut.
"The first day he had them on in Buffalo, I know guys on the bench were yelling ‘leave those on,’" Boone said, beaming. "I guess I hope he leaves them on."
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