Andrew Velazquez’s Bronx Tale will continue despite an impending addition to the Yankees’ cast.
Gleyber Torres is expected to rejoin the team on Friday following a rehab stint for an injured thumb. The shortstop’s anticipated return has left some wondering where that leaves Andrew Velazquez. The hometown product has become a fan favorite in 21 games filling in for Torres.
Velazquez likely isn’t going anywhere, though. Asked if he expects the 27-year-old to remain on the Yankees roster once Torres is activated, Aaron Boone replied with a succinct “yes” on Wednesday.
Velazquez was called up on Aug. 9 and was instrumental in the Yankees’ four-game sweep over Boston from Aug. 17-19. He hit his first major league home run against the Twins on Aug 21. He is slashing .245/.259/.415 with six extra-base hits, six RBI, three stolen bases, one walk and 18 strikeouts overall. He has also made a handful of sparkling defensive plays.
Velazquez has only played shortstop for the Yankees, but he has experience at second, third and all three outfield positions. New York could use him in a manner similar to the way it uses Tyler Wade—especially if Wade ends up being the odd man out.
Luis Gil, another recent pleasant surprise for the Yankees, will likely contribute in September as well.
He is currently at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but Boone said that the right-hander is expected to impact the Yankees in some capacity during the final month of the season.
The Yankees will play 20 games in as many days starting Friday, and Boone has mentioned the possibility of needing a sixth starter at times. He should be able to find a use for Gil.
“I could very easily see him making a start in one of those where we insert a sixth guy potentially,” Boone said. “He could find himself in another kind of role, whether it’s that spot start, potentially as a long man, or potentially coming out of the bullpen at some point during the month.”
Gil impressed in three big league starts in August, not allowing a run over 15.2 innings. The 23-year-old’s last two appearances have come at Triple-A. Gil was intentionally used out of the bullpen in his most recent start; the Yankees are experimenting with his usage ahead of an expected promotion. Gil allowed three earned runs in 4.2 innings of relief.
Whatever his role, expect to see Gil in The Show again soon.
“We’ll just see how it unfolds,” Boone said. “I’m not guaranteeing anything, but I think there’s at least a good chance that he’ll make a start for us some time in this 20-game stretch.”
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