While Gleyber Torres has been out with a strained left thumb since August 9, Andrew Velazquez and Tyler Wade have filled in admirably for the Yankees.
Torres, on the other hand, is expected to return when the Yankees begin their next homestand on Friday, and he took another step forward on Sunday by playing his first rehab game with Double-A Somerset.
In his first game, Torres hit a home run, walked twice, and made a bare-handed play at shortstop.
Torres will play with Somerset again on Tuesday and Wednesday before rejoining the Yankees in The Bronx on Friday, as the minor leagues are off on Mondays this season.
Asked what that would mean for Velazquez’s role, Boone said, “We’ll see. … I don’t want to jump ahead of myself. Five days [in baseball] can be a lifetime.”
Torres’ season has been a disaster, with his batting average plummeting and him missing time on the COVID-19 IL.
He was having a good month until he got hurt diving into a base.
In a 3-1 loss to the A’s, Gio Urshela had a bad day at third base, making two fielding errors.
Boone believed Urshela was distracted by Matt Chapman’s first chopper in the fourth inning, when he attempted to get the force at third before throwing to first. In the eighth inning, he made another fielding error on a grounder by Starling Marte that Boone compared to a “changeup,” making the play difficult.
“I chalk it up to one of those days,’’ Boone said. “Gio is as good as it gets over there.”
Before this weekend, Joey Gallo had only hit into nine double plays in his career. The outfielder then hit into one to end the top of the seventh inning in Saturday’s loss in Oakland, and then grounded into another to end the first inning on Sunday.
Aaron Judge had a career-high five consecutive multi-hit games prior to going hitless on Sunday.
Prior to the game, Boone referred to Judge’s stretch as his best of the season.
“The one thing about Aaron this year is he’s been remarkably consistent,’’ the manager said. “He hasn’t had those peaks and valleys. Right now is the first giant peak. He’s been locked in here the last week or two.”
Judge’s ability to get into hitters’ counts and his ability to “hit different pitches,” according to Boone, has made a difference. He had a good sense of how the other guys were going to attack him. It’s partly due to his lack of experience, and he’s in excellent physical condition. Right now, the talent is cashing checks.”
Judge’s on-base streak of 20 games came to an end on Sunday as well. It was his longest hitting streak since April 2018, when he hit safely in 21 straight games.
The Yankees’ season-long streak of eight consecutive games with a home run came to an end. It was their longest streak since they went deep in 10 straight games in August of last year.
According to Boone, Miguel Andujar (left wrist) is still not ready for rehab games, and Clint Frazier (undisclosed ailment) is “doing baseball activities” in Tampa.
Asked if either might be options for the Yankees in the final month of the regular season, Boone said, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”