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A New Role For Refsnyder

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NEW YORKWhen owner Hal Steinbrenner exited an owners meeting last August in Chicago, he was glad that general manager Brian Cashman didn’t sacrifice the organization’s top prospects to make a deadline deal.

"I don’t want to give those kids up,” Steinbrenner said of righthander Luis Severino, outfielder Aaron Judge, catcher Gary Sanchez, first baseman Greg Bird and second baseman Rob Refnsyder.


Severino and Bird were already in New York at the time. Judge, Refsnyder and Sanchez were at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

When the 2016 season opened, only Severino was in the big leagues, and there weren’t timetables for the others.

Bird won’t play this year after having right shoulder surgery. Sanchez had a miserable spring and started the year at Triple-A, despite entering camp as the favorite to back up Brian McCann. Judge, who struggled in Triple-A last year after crushing at Double-A Trenton, continued to scuffle in spring training.

Then there is Refsnyder, the 2012 fifth-round pick from Arizona, who was once considered the possible second baseman of the future because of his potent bat. Now, the 25-year-old is learning a new position.

Because the Yankees didn’t have a natural backup for third baseman Chase Headley and were reluctant to use second baseman Starlin Castro at the hot corner, the club this year has worked Refsnyder at third base at Scranton, where he embarked on his third tour of the International League.

Never having played the position before, Refsnyder needs more work on his footwork.

"For him to be valuable to us, he needs to play both second and third,” big league manager Joe Girardi said. "We are going to get him multiple days down there at third base.

"We thought he made progress while he was (in big league camp). We are just asking him to make some more.”

YANKEE DOODLES

• Lefthanded reliever Jacob Lindgren, a 2014 second-round pick who appeared in seven big league games in 2015, had a bone spur removed from his left elbow in late June. The Yankees assigned him to high Class A Tampa to avoid the harsh Northern weather in April.

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Hard Work Pays Off For Luis Torrens

The Rule 5 pick focused on improving his defensive game, and his hard work paid off in 2019 with a Texas League championship and September callup.

• Shortstop Wilkerman Garcia and catcher Luis Torrens both began the season on the disabled list while recovering from shoulder injuries.

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