Gleyber Torres in elite company with Yankees lineup shuffle

These kids today, they don’t appreciate what it means to hit cleanup.

“It only matters in the first inning,” Didi Gregorius, who has hit fourth 73 times as a Yankee since 2016, said Saturday. “After that, it doesn’t matter.”

Nevertheless, for those of us wearing a certain age, the cleanup slot still carries a certain sheen. And when Gleyber Torres becomes the youngest Yankee (at 21 years and 199 days) since Mickey Mantle to get the honor, as per veteran TV producer Moses Massena, it reverberates, even if not to Torres himself — who simply smiled, as he headed to the field, when The Post tried to engage him in conversation about hitting fourth.

“The fact that he’s such an important part of the club at this point, I guess is exciting and nice,” Aaron Boone said before the Yankees continued their series with the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. “Great that we’ve had another young player step up in a really impactful way for us.”

A young player, moreover, who didn’t even make the team out of spring training.

Torres now stands as the frontrunner for American League Rookie of the Year honors, thanks to Shohei Ohtani’s injury. He has turned veteran Neil Walker into a player on the roster bubble, and his pedigree as a natural shortstop — and, therefore, his ability to back up Gregorius there — has kicked the beloved Ronald Torreyes to the minor leagues.

And in The Bronx, on a day the Yankees began as the owners of baseball’s best record, he found himself getting mentioned in the same sentence as The Mick once again. On May 6, he became the youngest player in Yankees history to hit a walk-off homer, erasing the record held by Mantle since 1953.

Boone, who started 33 games (one for the Yankees) hitting fourth in his playing career, conceded the obvious: No one in the industry regards hitting fourth the way we once did. The Yankees’ best hitter Aaron Judge usually bats second, and Judge’s fellow behemoth Giancarlo Stanton often hits right behind Judge, as was the case Saturday.

Torres, who typically hits ninth against righty pitchers, had been hitting fifth regularly against lefties. With the Red Sox turning to their southpaw ace Chris Sale on Saturday, Torres moved up one spot.

“I think it’s just how it sets up tonight with another lefty tonight out of the lineup,” Boone said, referring to first baseman Greg Bird sitting in favor of the recalled Brandon Drury. “Especially against lefties, I like to space out my lefties as much as I can. With Bird out of the lineup tonight, it just allowed me to slot Didi back. It made sense to have the righty behind Stanton there. I just thought it had a better flow to it with him switching spots with Didi.”

The Yankees have enjoyed better flow, period, with Torres around. He made his major league debut April 22, at which point his team owned a 10-9 record. In their first 60 games with Torres, the Yankees went a ridiculous 43-17.

Boone was asked if, as he slotted Torres fourth, he could appreciate the meteoric rise of his rookie after the humbling beginning to his season.

“I guess when you look at it through that, yeah,” the manager said.

When you look at it wondering where the Yankees would be without Torres, that’s a lot harder to grasp than his making it all the way to cleanup in two-plus months. Even if that four spot has lost some romance, it’s still prime real estate, and the Yankees entrusted it to a rookie against their most important opponent. And no one, especially the rookie, though twice about it.

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