Energized by World Baseball Classic, Gleyber Torres returns to Yankees
TAMPA — As Gleyber Torres reacclimated to life with the Yankees on Tuesday, the second baseman could only rave about his experience at the World Baseball Classic.
Torres, no longer sporting the beard he wore during the international tournament, played for Venezuela. The Caracas native and his fellow countrymen lost to the United States — who are playing in Tuesday’s WBC final against Japan — in the quarterfinal, but Torres cherished every second of the opportunity.
“Amazing, the best moment of my life playing baseball,” he said. “It was really great, the atmosphere, the people, the energy was really amazing.
“The energy when you play in those situations is just unreal.”
Torres went to say “no, not even close” when asked if he’s had a comparable experience on the field, though he added he’s yet to play in a Fall Classic in the Bronx.
“I don’t know how a World Series is in New York,” he continued. “I think it’s awesome, too, but the WBC is amazing. It’s another level.”
Torres especially relished playing in front of large crowds of Latin fans, as well the chance to bond with other Venezuelan players. That contingent included Astros second baseman and Yankees nemesis Jose Altuve, who shared advice on how to handle pressure-packed situations.
Torres also felt the team’s run was “a beautiful thing” for Venezuela amid turmoil, though he declined to dive into specifics on the state of affairs in the country.
While Torres was still savoring his WBC experience, his focus is back on the Yankees. He’s trying to get in as many games as possible before Opening Day — he’s playing second against the Tigers on Tuesday — in addition to practice reps.
Torres only went 1-for-10 in the WBC, but he feels like the high-intensity WBC games put him ahead of schedule for the regular season.
“It’s a little bit different than a normal spring,” he said. “I felt like those kind of games and situations helped me because it’s like World Series, playoffs every day.”