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With Neil Walker Signing, Yankees Send Message to Youngsters

Manager Aaron Boone did not want to delve deeply into what the acquisition of Walker could mean, since it was not yet official when he spoke Monday afternoon. But when asked if it was a sign that Torres and Wade were not quite ready, Boone said: “No. I think that’s reading into it a little too much.”

Still, in the 32-year-old Walker, the Yankees are clearly getting a proven commodity — they pursued him last season at the non-waiver trade deadline, they had repeated discussions with earlier this winter, and he posted a .801 on-base-plus slugging percentage with the Mets and Milwaukee Brewers around a stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

Though Walker is a switch-hitter, he has been significantly more effective as a left-handed batter — during his career and last season. He posted a .842 O.P.S. batting left-handed last season (compared to .601 hitting right-handed) and all 13 homers came from the left side. He could also spell Brandon Drury, who has hit left-handers and right-handers at about the same rate, at third base and Greg Bird at first base.

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