The arrival of shortstop/third baseman Gleyber Torres at Yankee Stadium is going to be delayed.
The Yankees announced on Monday that Torres will have Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left (non-throwing) elbow. The surgery will sideline Torres for the remainder of the 2017 season. He is expected to be fully recovered in time for spring training next year.
Torres, playing at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre, was hurt on June 17 sliding into home plate as he reached awkwardly to tag home plate on a play at the plate. He rolled over, clutching his arm as soon as the play concluded.
PARMLEY showing off his arm! 🔥💪 pic.twitter.com/ocGGHWByWa
— Buffalo Bisons (@BuffaloBisons) June 17, 2017
The injury ends the season of one of the top prospects in the game. Torres ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the game, behind only White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada, in Baseball America’s most recent updated rankings in May.
Torres was hitting .309/.406/.457 in 81 at-bats with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at the time of the injury. He also hit .273/.367/.496 in 121 at-bats with Double-A Trenton before his promotion.
The announcement is a blow for the Yankees and Torres. With the club in first place in the American League East, Torres was seen by many as a potential midseason callup. Third baseman Chase Headley is hitting .244/.329/.364 and has been one of the few weak links in a productive Yankees lineup.
Torres had played shortstop almost exclusively in his first three seasons as a pro, but the Yankees had given him time at second and third base this year to increase his versatility.
While uncommon, it’s not all that unusual for a position player to need Tommy John surgery. Other notable current prospects that have needed Tommy John surgery include Twins outfielder Alex Kirilloff, Rockies third baseman Tyler Nevin and Rays catcher Chris Betts. Notable big league position players that have required Tommy John surgery in recent years include Miguel Sano, Matt Weiters and Zack Cozart.
In most cases, Tommy John surgery does not have significant long-term effects on a position player’s career prognosis, and it should be even less risky for Torres as it is not his throwing arm.