NEW YORK — On Monday night, after the Yankees failed to score a run for the second game in a row, ace Gerrit Cole said that New York needs a spark.
Two days later, two are headed from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to the Bronx.
Not only are the Yankees calling outfielder Estevan Florial back up from Triple-A, but New York is reportedly giving infielder Oswaldo Cabrera his first shot in pinstripes, promoting the switch-hitter from the RailRiders.
Bob Klapisch of NJ Advance Media was first to report that Florial is expected to join the Yankees before Wednesday night's game against the Rays. Daniel Álvarez-Montes of El ExtraBase broke the news late Tuesday night that Cabrera is also headed to the Bronx.
Cabrera, 23, is ranked as New York's No. 14 prospect by MLB Pipeline. While he's missed some time with a shoulder injury this season, he's having a tremendous campaign in a RailRiders uniform.
In 47 games with Triple-A, the infielder is hitting .262/.340/.492 with eight home runs, 29 RBI, 29 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. He's a primary middle infielder (appearing in most of his games at second base and shortstop), but Cabrera has experience at third base as well. He's even expanded his defensive versatility into the outfield this year.
Cabrera will join the Yankees on a hot streak offensively. The infielder is hitting .381 with a 1.009 OPS in the month of August. On Sunday, Cabrera went 3-for-4 with a home run and two triples.
Meanwhile, Florial is returning to the Yankees in hopes of sticking around longer than just a few games. The slugger is having a career year in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, batting .286/.368/.490 with 14 homers, 39 RBI, 62 runs scored and 32 stolen bases.
Florial has struggled in recent years, taking steps back in his development after injuries and a lost season during the pandemic. This year, however, he's flashing his potential on a consistent basis.
If he plays on Wednesday night, Florial would be making his 17th career appearance in a Yankees uniform, his fifth in 2022. Cabrera would be making his MLB debut.
In both cases, Cabrera and Florial have earned this opportunity. That said, there won't be too much time to celebrate and soak up the moment. These two position players are joining a team that's been reeling of late, a club in desperate need of a boost on offense.
New York is 8-17 since the All-Star break and 2-11 since the trade deadline. They still hold a nine-game lead in their division, cruising toward the postseason, but they no longer hold the top spot in the American League. The Astros hold a 2.5-game advantage atop the AL.
These two prospects will bring more than a fresh face to a struggling clubhouse. They are both fast, versatile on defense and have swings that pack a punch in the batter's box, constant threats to leave the yard, especially with the short porch at Yankee Stadium.
The question now transitions to who won't be on the active roster when these two are recalled on Wednesday. Cabrera may be a direct replacement for DJ LeMahieu, who has been day-to-day recently with inflammation in his right big toe.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday that New York was approaching a decision as to whether or not they'd place LeMahieu on the injured list or continue playing each night with a short bench. The infielder has been unavailable for three games in a row, meaning an IL stint could be retroactive to this past weekend.
The alternative would be to cut ties with utility man Marwin Gonzalez, who has rarely played recently and hasn't been producing. After starting on Tuesday and going 0-for-3, Gonzalez is now 2-for-30 since July 1.
As for Florial, New York could option Miguel Andújar or Tim Locastro back down to Triple-A. Andújar is hitting .222 (4-for-18) since he was called up earlier this month to replace Matt Carpenter after he fractured his foot on a foul ball in Seattle. Locastro is 0-for-9 in August, but provides elite speed off the bench and a reliable glove in the outfield as well.
A move is expected to be made to New York's pitching staff on Wednesdy, too. Closer Clay Holmes, who has endured a brutal stretch over the last few weeks, revealed Tuesday night that he's been managing some back tightness lately.
With Holmes likely headed to the injured list, reliever Ron Marinaccio would be the top candidate to take his spot, a right-hander that's been fantastic at the big-league level this season. Marinaccio has a 2.03 ERA this year, allowing one run in his last 22.2 innings pitched (with 26 strikeouts and an opponent's batting average of .058 in that span). He was optioned to Triple-A to make room for newly-acquired starter Frankie Montas earlier this month.
- Yankees' Clay Holmes Likely Headed to Injured List With Back Tightness
- Report: Yankees to Call Estevan Florial Up From Triple-A
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