TAMPA — Already without their staff ace Luis Severino and center fielder Aaron Hicks, the Yankees suffered another injury blow Saturday when stud prospect Estevan Florial suffered a non-displaced right wrist fracture crashing into the center-field wall.
It’s the second straight year the 21-year-old has had right wrist problems. Last year he was limited to 84 minor league games because of surgery on his hamate bone.
Florial, who played in 75 games for Single-A Tampa last year and hit .255, suffered Saturday’s injury when running into the wall attempting to catch Toronto’s Danny Jansen drive to center in the eighth inning of a 17-7 Yankees victory.
In the home eighth, Devyn Bolasky hit for Florial, who was likely headed to Tampa again or possibly Double-A Trenton. In 13 big league exhibition games the left-handed hitting Florial is hitting .355 with a homer and four RBIs.
Following the game, Aaron Boone was waiting for the X-rays, but didn’t believe Florial’s problem was severe.
“We will see,’’ Boone said when asked if Florial was OK. “Think it is something minor but we are taking him for X-rays just in case. X-rays as a precaution. Hopefully, we don’t feel like it is anything big, but we are going to make sure of it.’’
J.A. Happ has experienced many spring trainings but there is always something to learn for the veteran lefty.
“Don’t throw a fastball to Kendrys Morales,’’ Happ said when asked what he took out of Saturday’s outing against the Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field in which he gave up three runs and four hits (two homers) in three innings. Morales homered in the second.
Happ is looking for better results in what’s left of the exhibition season, but isn’t worried about a 7.94 ERA in four games (three starts) and giving up 16 hits (six homers) in 11 ¹/₃ innings.
“Obviously you want to have some momentum heading into the regular season, so I’m hoping to have maybe better results for the next couple [of outings],’’ Happ said. “But nothing I guess I’m overly concerned about.’’
Boone said he believes there is a chance Aaron Hicks will be ready by Opening Day, but isn’t certain the switch-hitting center fielder will be in the lineup against the Orioles on March 28.
“We are getting close to that point where it is cutting it real close. I feel pretty good about the fact that he will probably be ready by Opening Day but there is a point where he needs to get the proper reps and not just jam a bunch of at-bats down him,’’ Boone said.
Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to arrive in the Tampa area on Sunday and report to camp Monday.
Ellsbury missed all of the 2018 season with several injuries and had hip surgery in August. He has been rehabbing in Arizona and came down with plantar fasciitis that kept him away from reporting with the other position players last month.
Ellsbury, who is owed $47 million for the upcoming season and the next one, will open on the injured list. It will be the 35-year-old Ellsbury’s fourth (including the past three) trip to the IL in six years as a Yankee. He wasn’t shelved in 2014 and 2016.
Before Saturday’s game the Yankees optioned catcher Kyle Higashioka to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Higashioka appeared in 29 big league games (20 starts) last season and batted .167 with three homers and six RBIs. In nine spring training games this year the 28-year-old hit .333 (5-for-17) with two homers and two RBIs.
Pitcher Michael King and infielder Brandon Wagner were named the winners of the 2018 Kevin Lawn Award as the Yankees’ minor league pitcher of the year and player of the year on Saturday.
The award is named for Kevin O’Brien Lawn, the son of longtime Yankees VP and chief of operations Jack Lawn who died in 1999.
King, 23, went a combined 11-5 with a 1.79 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) with Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A. King was a non-roster invite to spring training, but was shut down early due to a strained right flexor forearm.
Wagner, 23, hit .267 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs in 124 combined games for Tampa and Trenton.
Among the previous winners are Miguel Andujar, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Don Mattingly.
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