Yankees could promote Rob Refsnyder to play outfield

Harry How

The second baseman might find his way into the majors as the Yankees' fourth outfielder.

The Yankees' outfield choices have dwindled quite a bit recently. First, Carlos Beltran was shut down from throwing, due to tightness in his right forearm, making him available only in a DH role. Then Alfonso Soriano was designated for assignment, leaving Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki as the entirety of the outfield. The number one backup plan at the moment is Kelly Johnson, because he can play all the positions. He actually has played about 1000 innings in outfield between his time with the Braves and the Rays, so he would be okay in a jam. In fact, Joe Girardi said that if Gardner had been thrown out of last night's game, he would have moved Johnson to the outfield. If they were really grasping at straws, Zelous Wheeler has played about 16 innings in the outfield. Still, Johnson and Wheeler are probably of better use in the infield (Wheeler at third, and Johnson backing up almost the entire infield), which means that the Yankees will need an extra outfielder at some point soon. You know who happens to have outfield experience?

None other than Rob Refsnyder. He was actually drafted as a right fielder out of the University of Arizona. Refsnyder even spent his 2012 season in Charleston playing right field before moving to second base. Since the Yankees seem dead set on keeping Brian Roberts at second base, this could be the way that Refsnyder finds his way into the majors. GM Brian Cashman has sent word to Triple-A, telling them to have Refsnyder start playing in the outfield. Although he commented that he wasn't "presently looking to call him up," Cashman did say that if he was called up, it would likely be to play outfield. After last season, we know what happens when Ichiro has to play everyday, and it would be wise for the Yankees to avoid wearing him out. The team could also really use a boost offensively, and Refsnyder could provide that. He's batting .312/.439/.548 with 5 home runs through 27 games since being promoted to Triple-A. There is, however, some question as to whether having him switch to playing outfield all of a sudden could be detrimental to his development. Would his bat be potentially worth it, or should the Yankees trade for an outfielder?

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