Increasingly, though, Torres may be forcing the Yankees’ hand. He had two hits and a walk on Friday night, raising his average to .387 in eight games.
At the moment, the Yankees could use help at either third base or second. Miguel Andujar, who is playing third and batting .156, and Wade (.094) have struggled to find their footing.
Andujar, who showed signs of emerging on Friday with a double and triple, is filling in for Brandon Drury, who is on the disabled list awaiting the results of tests for migraines that left him with blurred vision last week. But Wade was supposed to be a strong presence for the Yankees as a utility player. They envisioned him playing second base on days the team faced right-handed pitchers or being a late-game defensive replacement and pinch-runner. As teams increasingly seek roster flexibility, the Yankees placed extra value on Wade’s athleticism and versatility.
He performed well during spring training, solidified a roster spot early and became confident he would quickly put last season’s tepid debut — when he batted .155 in 30 sporadic appearances — behind him.
But so far, Wade has just three hits in 32 at-bats. He was replaced in the lineup Friday night by Ronald Torreyes, who had three hits to raise his average to .429. Wade entered in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement and grounded out in his only plate appearance.
“I know he knows deep down — and we know — that he belongs at this level and he’s more than capable of contributing at this level,” the assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere said. “I just think when you get off to a slow start, it starts to mount and it can feel like you’re in a really big hole.”
Wade said his biggest problem at the plate was his lack of strength. He had flulike symptoms during the season-opening series in Toronto, and left a game last week against Baltimore with a fever and dizziness. He sat out the next two games, then had a day off on Monday.
Wade returned Tuesday against Boston, but he was 0 for 11 in the series with six strikeouts — one of them for the final out on Thursday against Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel.
Wade said he had lost seven or eight pounds.
“I feel all right,” said Wade, who remained congested on Friday. “I just feel weak. You need strength to play this game. My bat speed is not there, and I’m just trying to get over it.”
Wade said the throwing error he made on Thursday — bouncing an ambitious throw home past catcher Gary Sanchez — was not a case of a player pressing to make a play. “I just made a bad throw,” he said.
Pilittere, who has worked with Wade since the end of the 2015 season, said he had made adjustments in his swing during spring training in an effort to be quicker to the ball. Still, Wade has had trouble getting to inside pitches.
“The way I see it is he’s trying to cover every single pitch a guy throws, and that’s what happens when you’re not feeling great or comfortable or confident,” Pilittere said. “It’s so fickle; that conviction and that confidence is such a crazy thing. You get that back and you get going, you can deal with the results whether they’re good or bad.”
When Wade will return to the lineup is not certain. The Yankees are scheduled to face left-handers in their next six games — against Detroit, Miami and Toronto — and Wade has just five plate appearances — all hitless — against lefties.
Asked if Wade’s struggles added urgency to call up Torres, Boone said: “It’s the big leagues. There’s always urgency.”
But he added that the decision would be driven mostly by how Torres performed.
“We want him to come here when we feel like he’s in a good place and ready to contribute for the long haul,” Boone said. “I would say Gleyber plays more into those kinds of decisions, more so than necessarily a short-term, knee-jerk need.”
Aaron Hicks, who came off the disabled list on Thursday, hit two home runs in Friday’s win over the Tigers — one of which was inside the park. Hicks, who also walked twice, drove in three runs. … C. C. Sabathia (hip) is expected to return from the disabled list on Tuesday to pitch against the Miami Marlins.