Refsnyder making big league debut today
BOSTON -- The Yankees are ready to take a closer look at Rob Refsnyder, and the touted infielder is scheduled to make his Major League debut on Saturday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Manager Joe Girardi confirmed the pending transaction after Friday's 5-1 victory, saying that the Yankees plan to start Refsnyder at second base against left-handers Eduardo Rodriguez and Wade Miley in the final two games before the All-Star break.
"He played well in Spring Training," Girardi said. "It's a young man that's been on our radar and we'll see how he does."
The Yankees have not announced the corresponding moves to accommodate the 24-year-old Refsnyder, who is rated as the Yankees' No. 5 prospect by MLB.com and is not currently on the team's 40-man roster.
Part of the Yanks' reasoning for keeping Refsnyder at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was that he needed regular playing time while transitioning to second base from the outfield. Though he has committed 13 errors, only two have come since May 23.
"We've heard that he's improved and that he's making strides, and we're going to find out," Girardi said.
The move may indicate that the team's patience has run out for Stephen Drew, who has struggled at the plate while serving as the starting second baseman over most of the last calendar year.
Re-signed to a one-year, $5 million contract this January, Drew finished play on Friday batting .182 with 12 homers and 25 RBIs in 78 games in what he has called a "strange" season. Drew said that Girardi sought him out to inform him of the upcoming Refsnyder move.
"It's not my decision. I'm coming out to win games," Drew said. "We've been able to do that, coming out every day, playing hard, making adjustments. So good for him. He's a good player."
Drew has also seen time at shortstop and third base this season, and assuming he remains on the roster (the Yankees could also trim Cole Figueroa or Gregorio Petit, both infielders), Drew said that he would embrace whatever assignments are given to him.
"Whatever they ask, I'm going to be here and be a part of this team," Drew said.
Girardi indicated that this will not just be a two-game audition for Refsnyder, who was a fifth-round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft from the University of Arizona. He burst on the prospect radar with a strong 2014 showing at two Minor League levels, which continued this season for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate.
Refsnyder is batting .290 (90-for-364) with 17 doubles, seven home runs, 37 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 81 games. His .387 on-base percentage ranked third in the International League. He is riding a seven-game hitting streak, batting .440 (11-for-25) with four extra-base hits over that span.
"He has value and we want to see him play," Girardi said.