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Yankees' Florial focuses in AFL after May surgery

MLB.com @wboor

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Injuries, while frustrating, are part of life as a professional athlete, and overcoming them is a process that all players eventually have to go through.

Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial had surgery on his right hamate in mid-May and although the procedure, which kept him out until July, limited his on-field development, it wasn't a total loss as he learned about the importance of drinking water and taking care of his body.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Injuries, while frustrating, are part of life as a professional athlete, and overcoming them is a process that all players eventually have to go through.

Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial had surgery on his right hamate in mid-May and although the procedure, which kept him out until July, limited his on-field development, it wasn't a total loss as he learned about the importance of drinking water and taking care of his body.

Arizona Fall League overviews for all 30 teams

"It was a little bit frustrating because I didn't expect that," the No. 45 overall prospect said. "But it's stuff you have to live with, the injuries, it's something you have to go through."

On the field, Florial spent 75 games with Class A Advanced Tampa and hit .255/.354/.361.

While those numbers don't jump off the page - especially considering the fact that he hit .298/.372/.497 in 2017 - Florial did make strides in some notable areas.

The 20-year-old reduced his strikeout-rate from 31.9 to 24.5 percent and also saw his walk rate rise from 10.5 to 12.8 percent. Yes, Florial only played 75 games this season, but those numbers are certainly trending in the right direction.

"Mostly, it's just learning the most I can as a hitter," Florial said when asked what he was focusing on in the Arizona Fall League.

While Florial is presently focused on the Fall League, he's also looking toward the future and the opportunity to join Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and the other young players in New York.

"That gets me pretty excited," Florial said. "Those young guys were playing with me in Spring Training and before that. They're there doing a great job. It's pretty exciting."

Yankees Hitters in Fall League

Thairo Estrada, SS/2B (No. 16) -- Estrada's 2018 season hardly happened, which is why the Yankees sent him to Arizona to get some at-bats. The 22-year-old was shot in the right hip during a robbery attempt in Venezuela in January and after he recovered from the gunshot wound, Estrada played in just 18 games before he was shut down with a back injury. Going back to 2017, Estrada hit .301/.353/.392 over 122 games with Double-A Trenton. On the other side of the ball, Estrada has the versatility to play all over the infield. Estrada has played 192 games at shortstop in his career, but has also logged 137 games at second and 50 at third.

"It's a great opportunity to be here," Estrada said. "It's a very competitive league and I'm excited to get some work here."

Steven Sensley, 1B -- Sensley, a 12th-rounder from the 2017 Draft, has plenty of power and hit 17 homers in his first full season. Sensley slashed .249/.330/.449 with Class A Charleston and Class A Advanced Tampa, but also struck out 113 times in 110 games (374 at-bats). Defensively, Sensley entered the system as an outfielder but is transitioning to first base. He spent 36 games at first base during the season and is continuing to get reps there in the Fall League.

Yankees Pitchers in Fall League

Jordan Foley, RHP -- The 25-year-old reliever spent the entire season with Double-A Trenton and posted a 2.98 ERA with 67 strikeouts across 66 1/3 innings. The 66 1/3 innings were the most Foley had thrown in a season since 2015, when he threw 84 1/3 innings, however he was pitching out of the rotation back then.

Hobie Harris, RHP -- Harris, a 31st-round pick from the 2015 Draft, spent the bulk of the season with Class A Advanced Trenton, but did spend some time with Double-A Trenton, where he made five appearances. Harris totaled 47 1/3 innings on the season and is making up for some lost time in the Fall League as he spent the later part of June and all of July on the disabled list. When healthy, Harris struck out 55 and walked 15.

Matt Wivinis, RHP -- Wivinis, 25, was lights out with Class A Advanced Tampa and although he struggled a bit after being promoted to Double-A Trenton in late July, the 2018 campaign was a good one for the right-hander. Signed out of the independent Frontier League, Wivinis features a low-90s fastball, curveball and slider. Across two levels, he posted a 2.41 ERA and struck out 77 over 56 innings.

Kyle Zurak, RHP -- The 23-year-old is the youngest of the Yankees' pitchers in Arizona. An eighth-round pick from the 2017 Draft, Zurak went 5-3 with a 3.02 ERA across two levels in his first full season. Pitching out of the bullpen, Zurak struck out 61 and walked 19 over 59 2/3 innings.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.