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How much playing time for the Yankees can Rob Refsnyder really expect to see?

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Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Right now Rob Refsnyder is ticketed for Opening Day as the 25th man on the Yankees roster. He's taken to the transition at third base better than expected (which I will freely admit I might have been wrong about), and he's outhit his competition (which isn't really saying much), but even if he makes the team, how much playing time will he be getting?

New York's original plan heading into spring training was to approach the last spot on the roster as a revolving door for whatever the team needed at the time. Another right-handed hitter? Some speed on the bases? An extra reliever? Like they did with the last spot in the bullpen on the big league squad last year, the Yankees could use the flexibility of the bench to bring any player up or down whenever it made sense for them. Then Greg Bird got hurt and plans changed.

Refsnyder was thought to be a shoe-in for the everyday roster, but the acquisition of Starlin Castro put his future with the team in doubt. If he really wasn't good enough to be the regular second baseman–now what? The move to third seemed to be a last ditch effort, considering he was already a sub-par defender, and it was expected that Castro would be the backup third baseman anyway. Now that the move seems to be a success (or at least not a total failure already), Refsnyder has the ability to play third base, second base, and perhaps even some right field if it's needed. Unfortunately, the flexibility that allowed him to make the roster also seems to be the reason he might not really play at all.

In 2015, even with concerns about his back, Chase Headley led the team with a total of 156 games played. If Ref remained on the roster all year, and Headley stayed just as healthy, that could give Refsnyder around 10 games in total at the hot corner. While Headley struggled at the plate last year, the switch-hitter was much better against left-handed pitching, so there isn't much of a need for a platoon there. The team needs Refsnyder at second even less since they already have Dustin Ackley as backup, and the right-handed hitting Castro can face tough left-handed pitchers himself. It's also extremely unlikely they'll use Ref in the outfield because even if they want to sit Carlos Beltran against lefties, they have Aaron Hicks, who can mash them, and play all three outfield positions.

At this point, Refsnyder's only other use might be as a pinch hitter if they want to get a better matchup against a tough left-handed reliever. They could sit Brett Gardner or Didi Gregorius late in a game and still have the depth necessary to offer late-inning defense. As cool as it would be to see Refsnyder make the team after all he's been through, the Yankees don't really seem to have much of a role for him.

In the end, though, they might actually use him at third base more often than they need to in order to give Headley some extra time off and see what they have in their 24-year-old prospect. He won't be the type of bat you force into the lineup, but it would be a good idea to ensure that Headley doesn't play almost every day like he did last year. It's possible that they could play Refsnyder once per week to start the season and see where things go from there. However, it won't be long before they realize that having him sit on the bench all week is a waste of time for everyone involved. I could see them sending him down in favor of an extra reliever before too long, or even calling up someone like Ronald Torreyes who can also play shortstop in order to keep Castro permanently at second.

It's fun to think that Refsnyder has a big league roster spot locked up, but in actuality there just doesn't seem to be a ton of room for him barring an injury. I do hope he makes the team and sees some playing time, but it looks like the fates are against him, no matter what he does.