Injuries and Aaron Hicks have gotten in the way of Estevan Florial competing for a big league roster spot the past several years.
However, when Aaron Boone ticked off the Yankees’ lineup for the first of two Subway Series games against the Mets at Yankee Stadium on Friday, the 22-year-old was in center field hitting seventh.
When a team plays a doubleheader it is allowed to add one player to the roster and that was Florial, who made his major league debut.
Because of the amount of injuries that have hit the Yankees this year, Boone was asked if Hicks would play in the nightcap and the manager cited the Yankees playing three games in less than 24 hours as a reason to rest players.
Florial’s defensive skills are always mentioned during a normal spring training. He covers a lot of ground and has a right arm that is strong and accurate. However, injuries in 2018 and 2019 have limited his development as a hitter who strikes out too much.
“Obviously we are in a tough situation from a roster standpoint and having some injuries and having some needs right now,’’ said Boone, who has outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list. “Estevan, since I have been here in spring training, has always performed. He is a super talented player and a guy with tremendous makeup.’’
In 2018 Florial needed hamate bone surgery that limited him to 84 games in which he hit .283 between Single-A Tampa and the GCL on a rehab assignment. The following year Florial suffered a fractured right wrist in spring training and appeared in 74 games for Double-A Trenton and batted .237. In the past two years the 6-foot-1, 195-pound left-handed hitter has fanned 190 times against 157 hits.
“He has had seasons cut short the last couple of years but it hasn’t deterred him,’’ Boone said of Dominican Republic native who possesses an infectious smile. “He has the talent going in that warrants him to do something. I am looking forward to watching him play. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he does something special.’’