Yankees put Starlin backup 3B plan on hold

New second baseman starts at shortstop for first time this spring, will stay up the middle

Yankees put Starlin backup 3B plan on hold

SARASOTA, Fla. -- While the Yankees said at the start of Spring Training that second baseman Starlin Castro would likely see time at third base, manager Joe Girardi said on Thursday that the team has put that plan on hold.

"I'm not sure if he'll play third. We want to make sure he is comfortable at second before thinking about him getting reps at third," said Girardi.

Girardi started Castro at shortstop for the first time in Thursday's 4-4 tie against the Orioles.

Castro, a shortstop throughout his career, is Didi Gregorius' backup, but that means one is still needed behind Chase Headley at third base.

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Castro said he took some ground balls at third a few weeks ago to get a feel for the position, but he hasn't taken anymore since then.

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"The first thing we were going to do is try," Castro said. "They want me to be comfortable. That's what I want too. I'm going to try no matter what."

The decision opens the door for Rob Refsnyder, who is fighting for a roster spot. Refsnyder has played third in early Spring Training games and started there on Thursday, going 1-for-3 with a run scored.

Castro went 3-for-3 in his first three at-bats vs. Baltimore, collecting three RBIs on a double and a two-run single. However, he did commit an error on a slow roller off the bat of Jonathan Schoop in the fourth inning.

Girardi said he feels more comfortable with Castro playing short instead of third at this point.

"If he never played short, that would be a concern," Girardi said, "but it should be like riding a bike.

"The more important thing is just giving him the reps when he has to do it during the season. ... This won't be the last time I do it. It is obviously a little bit of a different throw. It's all about being comfortable."

"It is a little weird, because the last time I played there was in August of last year," Castro said. "This is my natural position. I'm never going to forget the things I learned at shortstop. I felt pretty good out there."

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.