The Yankees signed Troy Tulowitzki on a one-year minimum deal this offseason once the Toronto Blue Jays released him, and manager Aaron Boone believes the 34-year-old shortstop can recover from double heel surgery to make a significant impact with New York.
"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,'' Boone said during Wednesday's press conference. "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 hasn't appeared in more than 100 games since 2016 and was limited to 66 games in 2017, slashing .249/.300/.378 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs.
But after Toronto cut him, the Yankees picked him and second baseman DJ LeMahieu up as opposed to free-agent superstar Manny Machado to fill in for Didi Gregorius, who is set to miss an extended period of time due to Tommy John surgery.
"We'll see how he bounces back,'' Boone said of Tulowitzki.
Boone has plenty of options on how to coordinate the infield before Gregorius returns. After all, second baseman Gleyber Torres, who is ready for his second season in the majors, spent most of his minor-league career at shortstop, which would allow Tulowitzki adequate time to rest while Torres and LeMahieu, a three-time Gold Glove-winning second baseman, man the middle infield.
"If there are health issues," Boone said, "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.''
Offensively, the 22-year-old Torres hit .271/.340/.380 with 24 home runs and 77 RBIs in 123 games last season, while LeMahieu, 30, hit .276/.321/.428 with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs in 128 games with the Rockies in 2018.
When it comes to defense, Torres said he has already had good communication with LeMahieu, Tulowitzki and third baseman Miguel Andujar, who is also entering his second MLB season, adding he would be comfortable moving around the infield to help the team.
"I'm ready for any opportunity,'' Torres said, according to the New York Post's Dan Martin. "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."
Gregorius was seen throwing Monday for the first time since undergoing surgery on Oct. 17 and said he didn't feel any pain in his elbow, a positive sign for Boone.
"We're optimistic he'll hopefully play a significant amount of the season for us," he said.