clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ask Pinstripe Alley 5/26/16: Rob Refsnyder's future; Will Mark Teixeira be dropped in the lineup?

New, comments

Answering questions about Refsnyder's future, whether Tex will be dropped in the lineup, and more.

Since there were some leftover questions that Andrew didn't get to with his response post Monday, we decided to split this week's Ask PSA Mailbag responses into two parts. Here are my answers.

Kwayne29 asked: Will the Yankees ruin [Rob] Refsnyder's chances of being an effective major league ball player like they did with Joba [Chamberlain] and the Joba rules? He has shown that his bat is ready. When will he get a serious look?

The Yankees have tried to increase Refsnyder's versatility by moving him from right field to second base to third base, but there still isn't a clear spot for him on the team. Aaron Hicks seems to have the backup outfielder job locked up, Starlin Castro is in no danger of losing his starting job, and Ronald Torreyes has been doing a fine job backing up third base. There's also Dustin Ackley floating around on the bench. It's difficult to imagine Refsnyder staying up with the team long-term unless someone does get injured, or Torreyes falls out of favor.

Fred Slagle asked: Since the Yankees have turned it around [Joe Girardi] pulled both [Ivan] Nova (64? pitches) and [Masahiro] Tanaka (85 on five days rest), when they could have gone longer. With the exception of Nova now, why can't SP throw well into 3 digit pitch counts? I don't want to hear third time through the batting order, when Nova & Tanaka were dominating the opposition in the games.

I think that you're mixing up Tanaka and Nathan Eovaldi. Tanaka was at 85 pitches through six innings against Oakland and Girardi did let him go back out for the seventh, presumably because the team had a 5-1 lead. On the other hand, Eovaldi had cruised through six innings against the Diamondbacks, and Girardi turned to Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman. After the game, Girardi said "I am going to take my chances 99 percent of the time with Betances, Miller and Chapman."

The Yankees were only working with a 3-1 lead when Eovaldi was removed. Although Nova had only thrown 62 pitches against the Athletics, he was pitching with just a 2-1 lead when Girardi brought Betances in. Early on, both the offense and the rotation have struggled, so I don't blame Girardi for feeling most confident in Betances/Miller/Chapman. At least if one of those three had surrendered the lead Girardi could have taken solace in the fact that those were his best pitchers, as opposed to a scenario where Nova throws a meatball to tie up the game.

Sandman51 asked: How much longer will Girardi stick with [Mark] Teixeira? I know he will never be sent to the bench but do you see a time where he ineptness at the plate will lower him to seventh or lower in the lineup?

As you probably already know, Joe Girardi will defend his players to the death. Last year we heard him defend Stephen Drew time and time again, telling the media that Drew looked better than his average showed and that he was hitting the ball hard. Teixeira has had a similarly atrocious start to the season, with his batting average hovering below the Mendoza line while he has hit just three home runs.

Tex missed a few days with neck spasms earlier in the month, and said that his poor start couldn't be blamed on neck pain. He finally asked for some time off when he felt that the pain was altering his swing. Teixeira was still experiencing pain yesterday so he was sent for an MRI that didn't show anything and was benched again. We know his neck has been bothering him for at least a few weeks now, but who knows when it really started.

For his part, Girardi said that he thought Tex had been showing patience at the plate. "I don't think he's gotten fully on track this year but I think he will." As recently as Tuesday, Girardi had Tex batting third, so I wouldn't expect to see him dropped in the lineup anytime soon. Especially since Girardi doesn't really make drastic changes to the lineup very frequently.

Alex Rodriguez seems to be the last player who was dropped that low in the lineup. This occurred when he returned from his suspension last year and batted seventh and sixth for roughly two weeks before he showed that he could still hit and was moved back up to his normal spot. At the time, A-Rod was obviously already out of favor with the Yankees. It is difficult to imagine a similar scenario playing out with Tex, though Hal Steinbrenner did call him out for playing poorly. Now we'll have to wait and see what happens with his neck.