Big goal motivates Refsnyder to train early

Yankees second baseman has eye on winning starting job this spring

Big goal motivates Refsnyder to train early

NEW YORK -- Rob Refsnyder is getting a head start on his training for next season, and the rookie infielder said that he will arrive in camp intent upon winning the Yankees' starting second-base job.

"I think you have to go into that whole situation with that mindset," Refsnyder told the YES Network's "Hot Stove" program. "If not, then I think you're at a disadvantage. I've got one of the best jobs in the world, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

The 24-year-old Refsnyder, rated as the Yankees' No. 4 prospect by MLB.com, batted .302 with two homers and five RBIs in 16 games over two stints with New York this past season, starting eight of the Yanks' final 11 games at second base -- plus the American League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser.

"It was truly kind of a whirlwind of an experience," Refsnyder said. "You know, sitting on the bench and learning and kind of observing, and then getting thrown in there. Obviously it helped a lot, and it kind of helped me go into this offseason with some confidence. I'm looking forward to next year, for sure."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said that the team is considering a platoon in which Refsnyder would start against left-handed pitching and Dustin Ackley would receive the majority of second-base reps against right-handed pitching.

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Refsnyder told the YES Network that he has been at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., doing early strength work alongside outfielder Mason Williams as they look to improve their speed and explosiveness.

"It's always nice. You build some relationships and some friendships," Refsnyder said. "It's going to start ramping up here soon, but I'm already doing some things with the strength coaches here, just building it up so it's not such a shock to the body once you really start getting after it."

A converted outfielder, Refsnyder is continuing to polish his mechanics at second base, but he said that he was also working with new hitting coach Alan Cockrell toward the end of the season on getting into hitter's counts and impacting the baseball.

Refsnyder batted .271 with 28 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 56 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 117 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hitting safely in 16 of 17 games from June 24-July 22.

"Hopefully, I'm just scratching the surface of the ballplayer I want to be," Refsnyder said.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.