With just 16 games under his belt, Rob Refsnyder was plugged into the starting lineup in the Yankees' lone playoff game in 2015, so it looked like he may have earned the organization's trust and a larger role in 2016. Instead, the club acquired Starlin Castro to man the keystone, and after taking some reps at third base in spring training, Refsnyder was sent back to the minors to open up the season. He ended up making multiple trips back and forth between the majors and minors. When all was said and done, the 25-year-old proved to be extremely versatile with at least four starts in the big leagues at first base, right field, second base, and left field. At the plate, he put together an impressive line in 54 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but other than his ability to draw walks, that success didn't translate to the majors. With a crowded depth chart yet again, Refsnyder could face a similar fate this season as a backup option at several positions or a starter in the minors.
Refsnyder was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday. Refsnyder saw 175 plate appearances for the club in 2016, but after hitting just .209 this spring, he won't make the final roster cuts. He had been behind Greg Bird and Chris Carter on the first base and designated hitter depth charts, respectively, so the utility man hadn't been in line to see many at-bats anyway. Instead, the 26-year-old will serve as organizational depth until an extra bat is needed.
Refsnyder is just 2-for-14 with five strikeouts in six spring training games. The 25-year-old has been one of the club's most MLB-ready prospects over the last couple seasons and has proven to be versatile in the field after seeing action at five different positions with the Yankees last season. With the influx of other young talent beginning to emerge though, Refsnyder looks to be competing for a roster spot out of the spring. His ability to be either a utility infielder or fourth outfielder could help his case, but he'll likely have to show more at the plate to avoid heading back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at the end of camp.
Refsnyder is in line for regular duty in right field while Aaron Judge (oblique) is out, ESPN's Wallace Matthews reports. Judge is out indefinitely and may not return this season, so Refsnyder could close out the year as the Yankees' starting right fielder. Manager Joe Girardi said the Yankees could opt to call someone up to add depth, but it certainly sounds like Refsndyer should see somewhat regular playing time down the stretch.
Refsnyder went 2-for-4 with an RBI double, walk and run in Friday's 7-5 victory over the Rays. He opened the scoring with a run-scoring two-bagger in the first that plated Jacoby Ellsbury, Refsnyder's first RBI since his Sept. 2 recall from the minors. He's gone 3-for-6 with Friday's double and RBI, along with two walks and three runs scored over his pair of contests. His ability to fill in at multiple positions and make some modest offensive contributions should afford him some solid playing time over the balance of the campaign.
Refsnyder was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday. Although he's largely struggled at the major league level this season (.664 OPS), there was never any real doubt that Refsnyder would be among the Yankees' first wave of September callups. The 25-year-old saw time at first base, second, third, and the corner outfield spots during his time with the big club earlier this year.