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Yankees’ Gleyber Torres leaves the bench with a key sacrificial fly

Gleyber Torres went from odd man to one of the most important at bats in the Yankees’ 6-5, 11 innings opening day win over Boston.

Torres started the game on the bench, with DJ LeMahieu starting at second base, but his name was called with the bases loaded and an out in the bottom of the 10th to hit Kyle Higashioka.

Torres responded with a sacrificial volley down the center to tie the score at 5-5, and the Yankees won an inning later.

“As a player, everyone wants to do [the lineup on] Opening day,’ Torres said. “I can control what I can control.”

Torres admitted he was “crazy” when manager Aaron Boone first told him he would be on the bench, but he was more positive about the situation on Friday.

Then came his at bat, during which the shadows started crawling across the field on Friday afternoon and he quickly fell 0-2 down with two nasty swings.

Gleyber Torres hits a sacrificial fly in the 10th inning of the Yankees’ 6-5, 11 inning victory over the Red Sox.
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“The shadows made it difficult to see the ball,” Torres said. “I tried to put the ball in play.”

Boone praised Torres’ mental toughness.

“I’m sure today was a really tough day for him,” Boone said. “I spoke to him before the game and I knew he was going to be ready.”

Before the game, Boone said of the decision to go with LeMahieu over Torres, “Somebody had to sit down.”

Boone and LeMahieu referenced a meeting the manager had with the team in Tampa during spring training, stressing that they “remain on the same page.”

The manager also mentioned before the game that Torres could be called up for the biggest batting of the game.

On Friday, it worked as the Yankees had hoped.

Anthony Rizzo got the Yankees back in the game with a two-run homer late in the first inning, then got scared when he was drilled in the right hand by a Nathan Eovaldi fastball in the fifth. Rizzo stayed in the game and said he was fine.

“My hand is good,” Rizzo said. “It made me feel good, but luckily everything is fine.”

Aaron Hicks also got a foul ball off his foot, but was able to stay in the game.

Luis Severino will make his first start in a game that matters since the 2019 ALCS when he takes the mound on Saturday.

The right-hander, who has missed much of the 2020 and 2021 seasons after Tommy John’s surgery, had previously suffered a medical condition during spring training, when he experienced ‘general pain in his arm’ after a start of the Grapefruit League.

But he bounced back and pitched well in his last outing and hopes to build on that against Boston.

Severino added that he “learned from my mistake” in the spring, when he found himself knocked down during starts.

“I can’t play,” Severino said. “I have to do my job: try to get people out and get five or six good innings to give my team a chance to win.”

Aaron Judge took over Brett Gardner’s locker in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse and said he recently spoke to his former teammate, who told him to take care of it for him.

“This guy was the life of the party.” said the judge. “He was a leader. He was a prankster. He remains loose here, so he will be missed.

The Yankees declined to bring the veteran outfielder back, opting to have Tim Locastro and Ender Inciarte in camp before the two ended up with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

“A guy who, no matter if he was playing, he would be there every day,” Judge said of Gardner. “It didn’t matter if he came off the bench, he would go out there and give 110%. The fans have always appreciated that from him over the years. … Every opening day I’ve been to, he’s been with me, so it’s a little different today.

— Additional reporting by Greg Joyce

New York Post

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