TAMPA — Troy Tulowitzki hasn’t played in a game since July 28, 2017. So while the Yankees remain confident the 34-year-old can withstand the rigors of being their shortstop until Didi Gregorius comes back from Tommy John surgery, they expect to bring him along slowly.
“We feel like he’s in a good place and over some of the injuries that really plagued him over the last year and a half, two years,’’ Aaron Boone said during his spring-training opening press conference at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday. “We’ll try to be vigilant as far as how his schedule goes and obviously communicating with him. We’ll develop a plan that kind of evolves a little bit.”
Tulowitzki, released by the Blue Jays in December, has been working alongside fellow infielders Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, as well as Gregorius.
Boone reiterated Tulowitzki is going to focus on shortstop and he will be monitored closely, at least through the early part of the season.
“We’ll see how he bounces back,’’ Boone said of Tulowitzki, who had surgeries on both heels as he missed all of last season and was limited to 66 games in 2017 because of leg injuries. “If there are health issues, we feel comfortable moving Gleyber over to shortstop. We feel really comfortable from a depth standpoint, but as we sit here right now, we feel optimistic with what Troy is gonna bring. We’ll try to protect him in spring training, but even early in the season with not overdoing it too much, even if things are going very well.’’
Torres said he has been taking grounders at both second base and shortstop in anticipation of potentially playing short on occasion.
“I’m ready for any opportunity,’’ Torres said at the team’s minor league complex. “If it’s at short or second, I’ll do my job. I’m working at both positions, like I did last year. I don’t want to forget anything about playing shortstop.”
And he’s looking forward to the chance of sharing the infield with Tulowitzki.
“I know what kind of player he is and we have good communication already with Andujar and DJ [LeMahieu],” Torres said.
Gregorius began his throwing program Monday and won’t hit with both hands for another three or four weeks, according to Boone, who added “he’s doing really well,’’ while resisting again to predict a timeline.
“We’ll let the thing play out,’’ Boone said. “I think we originally thought [he’d be back] two-to-four months into the season. He certainly seems at least on that pace. He’s in really good shape. We’re optimistic he’ll hopefully play a significant amount of the season for us.”
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