Yankees backup shortstop Brendan Ryan injured his calf in Wednesday's game against the Rays, needing to be carried off the field. He has been diagnosed with a calf strain and is headed for an MRI to determine the severity. With under a week to go before Opening Day, Ryan's chances of making the roster when the team heads north has just evaporated to about zero after he finally managed to get healthy following a pre-spring training injury that cost him the first few weeks of Grapefruit League games.
The big question will now be who replaces Ryan on the Opening Day roster. The team already has another shortstop on the team in Stephen Drew, but he has not been working out at the position since the team decided to use him as their regular second base option. Nick Noonan is about the best option to be found on the shortstop side, and that's really not saying much. The Yankees could roll with Noonan, hoping that Didi Gregorius is healthy and knowing that Ryan wasn't going to provide much of anything in the way of offense anyway.
Another option for the team would be to use Drew as the backup shortstop and promote a second baseman to fill in until Ryan is healthy. With Jose Pirela still recovering from a concussion and still being unlikely to be healthy for Opening Day, that really leaves Rob Refsnyder. Fans have been clamoring to see Refsnyder in the Bronx since the middle of last season, and his bat has certainly impressed everyone in spring training. However, his defense remains a work in progress. He's made a number of errors in the field this spring, but Joe Girardi says that he does see improvement there.
If the team is looking for an option that can actually provide some offense, Refsnyder is the obvious answer. His bat seems like it is major league ready, even if his glove isn't quite there. In a perfect world, the team would send him down to let him play every day and continue to work on ironing out those issues. They may not have that luxury with this latest injury. Getting Refsnyder on the roster would be easy enough with Ivan Nova needing to be transferred to the 60-day DL at some point. That leaves the only concern with starting Refsnyder's service clock, which doesn't seem like a thing teams as wealthy as the Yankees should be overly concerned with.
Rob Refsnyder will be "a name that's thrown around a lot today" in meetings, Joe Girardi said.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) April 1, 2015
That seems to indicate to me that the team is at least seriously considering giving him a go to start the season on the merits of his strong spring training. Maybe he will shock everyone and do much better than we could predict. No one would argue with that outcome. I just hope that, if they do bring him up, they actually give him a real chance to play instead of just chaining him to the bench while Ryan heals up.
What do you think the team should do to replace Ryan on the Opening Day roster?