Refsnyder taking new role in stride

Yankees' top 2B prospect embracing opportunity to learn from veteran Castro

Refsnyder taking new role in stride

TAMPA, Fla. -- Rob Refsnyder learned about the Yankees' trade for Starlin Castro a few days before his wedding, but rather than view the deal as a setback, he is looking forward to having a chance to watch the veteran infielder up close this spring.

"It doesn't really change how I go about my business," Refsnyder said on Wednesday. "Obviously Starlin is a great addition for the Yankees. He's young and I'm looking forward to learning from him, bouncing ideas off of him. He's got a great swing."

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Prior to Castro's Dec. 8 acquisition from the Cubs, the Yankees were preparing to go into the season with a second-base platoon that would have seen Dustin Ackley face right-handed pitching and provided Refsnyder -- New York's No. 4 prospect according to MLB Pipeline -- with reps against left-handed pitching.

Castro is now viewed as the regular second baseman, with Ackley potentially backing up at second base, first base and the outfield. General manager Brian Cashman said that the 24-year-old Refsnyder may find himself back in Triple-A as an insurance policy, should anything go wrong at the big league level.

Refsnyder's solo jack

"It really doesn't change much," Refsnyder said. "Dustin and I are out here working right now, and it's fun working with Dustin right now. We're just trying to get better and help the Yankees in any way we can. It's an exciting time, and I think everyone feels good. Everyone is optimistic in the spring."

Refsnyder said that he has been working with Yankees field coordinator Jody Reed and infield instructor Carlos Mendoza to polish off his transition to second base, having been moved from the outfield in 2013. Yankees vice president of player development Gary Denbo is pleased with Refsnyder's progress.

"Ref came a long way defensively last year, improved tremendously," Denbo said. "I see an excellent athlete that has a chance to continue to improve his defensive game. I think he's got a chance to keep continuing to get better and be a factor for us in the middle of the field at second base."

At the plate, Refsnyder batted .302 (13-for-43) with two homers, five RBIs and two stolen bases in 16 games for the Yankees, making 12 starts at second base. Refsnyder started eight of the team's final 11 regular-season games at second base, plus the American League Wild Card Game against the Astros.

"You can work in the cages and on the field for a long time, and once you get on the field you really hope those things pay off," Refsnyder said. "I had a little bit of success there and we were winning some games, which made me feel good."

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.