BOSTON — Estevan Florial still might be a part of the Yankees’ long-term future.
At this point, though, they need him to produce right now, and the 23-year-old delivered a key hit in the stunning, 4-3 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Saturday.
His leadoff double off Nathan Eovaldi in the top of the eighth sparked a four-run rally.
“Every time I’m with [Florial] personally, whether it’s spring training or getting called up, he always seems to be doing something,” manager Aaron Boone said. “It shows why we’re excited about him. … It’s a tough environment to play in, and he acquitted himself well.”
The long-time prospect called his performance at the plate “so-so” and acknowledged that he isn’t sure if he’s here to stay.
“I’ve been able to come up here and help the team,’’ Florial said. “Right now, it’s not about me. There’s gonna be a time for the Yankees to make a decision. … I trust the Yankees.”
The Yankees are slowly getting whole again after their COVID-19 outbreak.
Gio Urshela could be in the lineup on Sunday against the Red Sox depending on how he feels and Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka are expected to arrive in Boston on Sunday and to travel with the team to Tampa on Monday.
Judge and Higashioka will go through further testing to make sure they are ready to go, according to Boone, and will then workout at the team’s minor league complex in Tampa on Monday’s off-day.
Asked if Judge could potentially return for Tuesday’s opener against the Rays, Boone pointed more toward later in the series.
“I know Monday is a big day for he and [Higashioka],’’ Boone said.
He added the hard artificial turf at Tropicana Field would not play a role in whether Judge plays, though it has taken a toll on his legs in the past.
Chris Gittens left the game after tripping over his bat on a comebacker during an at-bat in the top of the eighth. He was getting X-rays on his ankle after the game and his status for Sunday unknown. Luke Voit is already on the IL with left knee inflammation. DJ LeMahieu moved from third base to first, with Tyler Wade, who’d pinch-run for Giancarlo Stanton earlier, played third.
The Stanton experiment in left field hadn’t taken place, but Boone said he was “leaning” toward playing him there for the series finale against the Red Sox on Sunday at Fenway Park.
It’s unclear why Sunday would be the best day for Stanton to take the field for the first time since 2019, since the Yankees barely have enough competent hitters to field a competitive lineup, even with Stanton at DH.
The initial thought was that Stanton in left would free up the DH spot for someone else, but Judge and Urshela remain out with COVID-19. Asked if Gary Sanchez could get a DH day Sunday if his back is healthy enough, Boone said that was not in the plans.
Still, Boone said Stanton could “potentially” be in left field Sunday.
“We’ve had a lot of stuff happen as a team with us the last week or two,’’ Boone said of what will go into the decision on Sunday. “He is an option right now. … There’s a good chance [Stanton] is out there [Sunday].”
Luis Severino threw to live hitters again Saturday, and it went well, according to Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake.
Coming back from a strained groin suffered during his second rehab start in his return from February 2020 Tommy John surgery, Severino faced Urshela and Tyler Wade in the two-inning, 38-pitch session.
They’ll wait to see how the right-hander bounces back before determining his next step, which would likely be either a three-inning live BP or a rehab start in Tampa.
Boone said Corey Kluber felt good following his first bullpen session since being sidelined with a shoulder strain in May.
“That’s encouraging,’’ Boone said. “He’s in line for another bullpen.”
Kluber isn’t expected to rejoin the rotation before September.
Asher Wojciechowski elected free agency rather than accepting an assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Wojciechowski was designated for assignment by the Yankees on Thursday to make room for Sal Romano a day after starting the Yankees’ win over the Phillies.