Just one day after his 25th birthday, the Yankees announced that they have optioned Rob Refsnyder to Triple-A. The move does not come as too much of a surprise since he experienced a number of fielding issues over the past few days. Not only did Refsnyder make three errors in two games, but he also was forced to leave back-to-back games after being hit in the face with a ball. Joe Girardi attempted to defend Refsnyder by saying that the balls to the face were a result of bad luck and dry spring training fields and not due to his inexperience at third, but the problem seems unique to him.
The Refsnyder Third Base Experiment has only been underway for a few weeks, so it is true that he has very little experience there. It was not until spring training started that the Yankees announced that Refsnyder and Starlin Castro would take reps at third base. Shortly thereafter, the Yankees decided that Castro would focus exclusively on second base.
Up until this week, it looked like Refsnyder had a legitimate chance to make the team. Refsnyder hit .242/.286/.364 with one home run, one double, two walks and eight strikeouts through 33 at-bats. Now it appears as though the Yankees want him to get more experience at third base down in Scranton. Refsnyder has struggled defensively since he was moved from right field to second base in 2013, and was charged with 18 errors in Scranton last season, along with one error in the majors. He could have a shot at getting called up at some point if he starts swinging a hot bat and shows that his fielding has improved.
With Refsnyder out of the picture, it looks like Ronald Torreyes or Pete Kozma will make the team as the backup third baseman. Kozma was sidelined with a back injury during the first few weeks of spring training, and has not done much with his bat so far. Through 24 at-bats, Kozma is hitting .167/.231/.250 with a triple. Although he has primarily played shortstop, Kozma has experience at second and third, as well. The 27-year-old has the major league experience that Torreyes is lacking, having played over 1000 innings in the majors.
On the other hand, Torreyes has been swinging a hotter bat throughout spring training. He is currently hitting .313/.333/.375 with two doubles and two stolen bases through 32 at-bats. Torreyes also has experience playing second, third and shortstop, and he is on the 40-man roster, while Kozma is not. Ultimately, it doesn't really matter who the Yankees choose, since neither player is expected to get much playing time.
What do you think of the Yankees decision to cut Rob Refsnyder from spring training camp? Will Jason's prediction that Kozma will make the team stand?