Estevan Florial of the Yankees strikes out during the fourth inning against...

Estevan Florial of the Yankees strikes out during the fourth inning against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 20, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

At the apex of his rise to the majors, Estevan Florial once was rated as the Yankees’ top prospect and the 26th-highest-ranked prospect in all of baseball. 

But that was five years ago. On Saturday, Florial’s tenure with the Yankees likely came to an end as the team designated the 25-year-old centerfielder for assignment to make room for reliever Colten Brewer. 

In the unlikely event that Florial isn’t snapped up on waivers or traded in the next week, he could return to the minors with the Yankees. But some team  probably will want to take a chance on Florial’s talent — and if a team does, it will have the blessing of Yankees manager Aaron Boone. 

Boone called the conversation with Florial “difficult. In some ways, a little sad. We’ve been through a lot with Flo. Such a great kid. The one thing that [I] tried to encourage him and remind him of — still a young man with a ton of talent. This game is difficult and clicks at different points for different people. Whatever happens here over the next few days moving forward, we’ll see. But tough conversation.” 

Florial appeared in the Yankees’ 5-0 Opening Day win over San Francisco on Thursday in the eighth inning as a pinch runner for Giancarlo Stanton and played an inning of defense in center. 

Since making his major league debut in 2020, Florial has appeared in 30 games, going 10-for-54 (.185) and striking out in 21 of his 63 plate appearances.  

He never got a real opportunity, but Florial also did little with the sporadic chances he did receive. 

“If we knew [why it didn’t work out], we’d be at a different place,” Boone said. “It can absolutely still happen with Flo . . . He’s still young and very talented, so you never bet against that.” 

With Harrison Bader (oblique strain) on the injured list, Aaron Judge started his second straight game in centerfield on Saturday. Boone said Bader is close to swinging a bat. That could happen early next week.  

Boone also said Isiah Kiner-Falefa might make his big-league outfield debut on Sunday. 

In Brewer, the Yankees added a 13th reliever to their 26-man roster. The Yankees acquired the 30-year-old righthander on Friday from Tampa Bay in exchange for cash considerations after Brewer didn’t make the Rays despite not allowing a run in eight spring training outings. 

Brewer has been in the majors with San Diego and Boston and is 2-5 with a 5.04 ERA in 81 games (four starts).  

In recent years, the Yankees have done a good job  of plucking unheralded relievers off other rosters and spinning them into gold. 

“Brewer popped up on our radar a few weeks ago,” Boone said. “The front office was seeing some things that he’s done from pitch shaping and things like that that I think leaped off the screen to some guys.” 

Here’s Jhony 

Righthander Jhony Brito will make his big-league debut on Sunday in place of the injured Luis Severino (lat strain). Boone said Severino started throwing on Friday and felt good enough on Saturday to throw again. 

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