Refsnyder Tries Outfield Again
NEW YORK—Rob Refsnyder broke into pro ball as a right fielder at low Class A Charleston in 2012, about a month after the Yankees made him a fifth-round pick from Arizona.
Believing his bat didn’t have enough power to play on a corner, the Yankees moved Refsnyder to second base the following season. This spring they looked for a backup third baseman, so they tried the 25-year-old at the hot corner.
Eventually, the Yankees settled on utility infielder Ronald Torreyes for the major league roster, and Refsnyder returned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. On the way out the door he mentioned the possibility of playing right field again.
That happened on May 3, and Refsnyder knows that more positions will equal more opportunities to see the big leagues.
"We are just trying to make him as versatile as we can,” big league manager Joe Girardi said. "He has played right field before—he played it in college. He wanted to play some outfield to increase his versatility.”
Refsnyder has struggled at times with the defensive demands of second base, and he didn’t look smooth in limited spring-training action. Plus, now Starlin Castro appears to have the keystone locked up in New York through 2019.
"We talked about it at the end of spring training, and (Refsnyder) said he felt comfortable playing the outfield,” Girardi said. "I liked the idea. The more places a player can play, the more options it gives your manager.”
As a part-time outfielder, Refsnyder faces a number of other potential roadblocks. Right fielder Aaron Judge profiles as a regular, but other Yankees prospects on the 40-man roster, such as Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams and Ben Gamel, appear to fit better as outfield extras.
A career .290 hitter in the minors. Refsnyder hit .288/.336/.347 with six extra-base hits, but zero home runs, through his first 30 games at Scranton.
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