Yankees INF Neil Walker hasn't performed to his normal standards since arriving in the Bronx and has been relegated to a bench role as Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar have proved ready for the big leagues sooner than expected.
Walker, who has been an everyday player since his first full MLB season in 2010, says he's still adjusting to a bench role but was prepared for this possibility when he signed in March.
"When push came to shove, and this is where I ended up being, first and foremost I wanted to be with a team that was competitive," Walker told Lindsey Adler of The Athletic. "Second, if I found myself in a role like this which I knew was a possibility coming into it, I knew that it was gonna be something that I might have to adjust to the role. I was OK with that, and I am OK with that to this day. But I guess it's still a work in progress."
Walker is on pace for career-lows in batting average (.184), OBP (.268), slugging (.254), home runs (2) and RBI (15).
"You stick with the aggressiveness, the approach, but when you're talking about one start in five days or whatever the case may be, sometimes it's more difficult to find your timing and rhythm," Walker said.
Despite his struggles at the plate, the 32-year-old is focusing mostly focusing on the mental side of baseball.
"When one game ends, you try to take a shower and wash it off and clear your head and move onto the next day," Walker said. "That's been something that I've tried to remind myself of regardless of whether I've played, haven't played, played a couple days in a row, haven't played for a week, whatever the case may be… you try to go into it with the confidence that if I'm in the lineup I'm gonna be prepared. But mentally, that's kinda the part of the adjustment that's being made too, because like I said, I've never been in this role."
Walker admits the experience has been humbling.
"After nearly 10 years that part can be humbling," Walker said. But I knew coming into this that this was going to be one of the better teams I've been on in my entire life."
Walker and the Yankees take on the Blue Jays in Toronto on Saturday at 4:07 p.m.