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Refsnyder earning more playing time

Yanks move rookie second baseman up to No. 2 spot

NEW YORK -- The Yankees have been so impressed with the progression Rob Refsnyder has made since they recalled him Sept. 1, the club has decided to reward the second baseman with more playing time.

The Yanks initially had concerns with Refsnyder's defense, but they've seen noticeable improvements and have been pleased with his at-bats as of late. Refsnyder's right-handed bat against left-handed pitchers has become a more consistent fixture in the lineup and will continue to be moving forward. On Thursday night, in the Yanks' 4-1 American League Wild Card-clinching victory, Refsnyder hit a solo home run in the eighth, putting the exclamation point on an emotional night. Statcast™ estimated his homer traveled 436 feet.

"I would be lying to say it wasn't really, really cool to be rounding the bases and kind of feel the energy and things like that. It's awesome, you know?" Refsnyder said during a champagne celebration after the Yanks' 10,000th franchise win. "It was a situation where I wasn't playing, I was observing and trying to learn as much as I could. Now I'm playing a little bit, so it's kind of a whirlwind. I said in the beginning, I was just trying to do my job. It's been fun watching these veterans. Watching veterans act like little kids is pretty cool."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was initially concerned with Refsnyder's defense, which concerned the Yankees when they first saw him in the big leagues.

"He seemed to improve from a mechanical standpoint as we've watched him turn double plays and his work, his feet have quickened up," manager Joe Girardi said. "He seems more comfortable in the position, has an idea about how to play the position on a daily basis better than maybe when we first saw him Spring Training, just because he's got the reps."

Because of his recent offensive production, the Yankees slated him to hit second against Red Sox lefty Rich Hill, after hitting eighth Wednesday.

Refsnyder made his debut July 11 and played four games before he was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make some adjustments, specifically defensively. He rejoined the team when rosters expanded, but didn't appear in a game until Sept. 11. Moving forward, the Yanks' plan seems to be to platoon him with Dustin Ackley at second. Ackley will likely get the reps against right-handers, while Refsnyder will slide in against lefties.

Thursday was Refsnyder's sixth start since Sept. 24. He is hitting .286 with two homers and four RBIs in 35 at-bats entering the game.

"I mean, he's played really well. He's swung the ball well so I decided to put him in the 2-hole and put Chris Young out in the five-hole and around with moving them both up," Girardi said. "Putting [Young] up there, just decided to do that way.

"[Refsnyder will] continue to play against the left-handers and we like what he's done."

Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for
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