Estevan Florial took advantage of his latest big-league opportunity on Thursday night, clubbing the first extra-base hit of his career.
Later in the evening, however, after New York defeated the Blue Jays in the nightcap of Thursday’s doubleheader, the Yankees optioned the prospect back to Triple-A.
The 23-year-old started in pinstripes for just the second time of his MLB career, going 1-for-3 while playing solid defense in center field. It was his double off the left-field wall in the sixth inning that left quite the impression.
“Obviously his last at-bat, you see him smoke a ball the other way and we’ve seen that now for a few springs with his ability to drive the ball to all fields,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the win. “So good to see him really sting one the other way to almost give us an insurance run there.”
Florial’s double actually came close to leaving the yard. Driving a 2-1 fastball from Toronto’s right-hander A.J. Cole, the ball caromed halfway up the wall before it was gobbled up in left by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Statcast had the double clocked off Florial’s bat at 102.3 mph, traveling 367 feet. Florial has already hit six home runs this season across Double-A and Triple-A, so his pop at the plate should come as no surprise.
Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez was on first base and off the crack of the bat, it looked like he was going to stop at third and extend the inning another batter. Instead, he was waved around to try and score with two outs.
Sánchez was thrown out by several steps, stripping Florial of a chance at his first big-league RBI.
Congrats to Estevan Florial on picking up his first hit of the season but we need Phil Nevin back coaching third base like RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/k5lx8leIdX— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) May 28, 2021
Before first pitch on Thursday, Boone alluded to the fact that Florial could be sent down right away and that he was called up simply to bolster the position player depth with 14 innings to play.
Although it’s bittersweet for Florial—who is now 2-for-6 in two big-league games—the demotion does make Giancarlo Stanton’s return from the injured list even more clear. Theexpectation was for the slugger to come back from the IL on Friday in Detroit and now, there’s a spot available for him on the active roster.
Asked after the game about the depth on this roster—despite losing Aaron Hicks for the season and others like Luke Voit to substantial injuries—Aaron Judge singled out Florial as an example.
“We’re built for it. It’s not a surprise,” Judge said. “The guys I see coming through during spring training that are in Double-A, Single-A, Triple-A, that come up and produce in the spring training games, they’re major league ready. And then to see the guys come up, Florial come up with a big hit that nice little double hit to left center, that’s the type of guys we got down there just waiting for this opportunity.”