The New York Yankees made an interesting choice when they optioned Jorge Mateo to High-A Tampa after reassigning him to minor league camp earlier this week.
However, manager Joe Girardi was impressed with how Mateo handled the situation, and vowed to find a quick path for Mateo to reach the Major Leagues.
“I talked to him this morning before we sent him down,” Girardi said about Mateo on Friday afternoon. “I told him wherever you go, I think it’s your job to go dominate, because you’re a special talent.
“And in a way it’s a real blessing to have the talent that he has, but it’s also a curse in a sense because we’re always going to be watching every move you make. You have to pay attention to detail and play the game the right way because someone is always going to be watching.”
Mateo is considered a top prospect in the organization, but had some setbacks in 2016 when he was suspended by the Yankees front office. Since his suspension, Mateo seems to have grown into a confident young man.
I thought he was very mature in camp,” Girardi said. “He had a great camp on the field, in the clubhouse, off the field. I think sometimes we can make a lot of certain things, but at 21-years old, I was doing some foolish things. Just not everybody knew about it, right? I think he’s grown up. I don’t think he could have done much more, really.”
The Yankees plan on playing Mateo at shortstop, but they’re also interested in seeing what he can do in the outfield.
“I thought he played a very good shortstop and a very good second base for us,” Girardi said. “When you have the speed he does, the versatility, as I told him, when you have the talent level that you have, you start thinking about what’s the quickest way to get him here. A spot could open up one day in a different spot than what you’re used to playing and if you can play other places it might get you here quicker.”