The New York Yankees have gotten the worst posible news on center fielder Aaron Hicks: he is expected to miss most, if not all, of the season with his wrist injury. That means somebody in the organization will need to step up, or the Bombers would need to go to the trade market and spend valuable resources to solve the issue.
Veteran Brett Gardner is expected to take over Hicks in center, at least in the short term. But the Yankees are closely monitoring Estevan Florialâ€™s progress in Triple-A and will probably not hesitate to recall him if needed.
In fact, they used him for yesterdayâ€™s twin bill against the Toronto Blue Jays, and after the second game, the Yankees sent him back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Florial himself told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he has been closely monitoring the injury situation in the Yankeesâ€™ big league roster, and is trying to stay ready at all times in case he is needed, just like Thursday.
“As a member of the team, you don’t want your teammates to get hurt, but I’m always ready to help the team,” Florial said.
Could he play himself into the Yankeesâ€™ plans?
He was the center fielder in the Yankeesâ€™ victory in the second game, and went 1-for-3 with a double.
Injuries and issues to make contact cost him three years of development, but he is making up for the lost time with a power showing in the high minors.
“I think you know how much we like his ceiling and what his potential is,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “The biggest thing for him is gaining experience and allowing him time to learn from successes and failures, making the adjustments to be a Major League hitter.”
In 17 games between Double-A and Triple-A, Florial has a .203/.295/.536 slash line, but it comes with six homers and nine RBIs.
He could use some Triple-A seasoning to show he can increase that average through an improvement in bat-to-ball skills and pitch recognition.
“There’s a lot of competition down there,” Florial said. “[The numbers] weren’t great, but I used to face pitchers like that in Spring Training. Sometimes you’d have to face Gerrit Cole, big league arms. I’m kind of used to it, so I prepare myself. It doesn’t matter if it’s Double-A or Triple-A.”