Refsnyder revs offense in first start of '16

Yanks prospect slugs 2-run double in 10-pitch battle

Refsnyder revs offense in first start of '16

OAKLAND -- The Yankees still aren't in a position to promise Rob Refsnyder a significant amount of playing time, but a big hit on Saturday afternoon offered a reminder of why the prospect continues to be so popular among the fan base.

Making his first appearance this season at the big league level, Refsnyder played right field and belted a two-run double as part of a four-run fourth inning, helping to lift Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees to a 5-1 victory over the Athletics at the Coliseum.

"It was nice. I've been sitting the past couple days," Refsnyder said. "It was nice to be able to contribute today. It was a good feeling to get a win."

Refsnyder's hit came on the final pitch of a 10-pitch showdown with A's left-hander Sean Manaea, carrying to the warning track in right-center field as Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran raced home.

"He had to battle through it. It was tough," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He fouled off pitches and he finally got one that he could handle. He put a tough at-bat on."

Refsnyder's bat has never been much of a question, but the Yankees are still trying to find a position where he can stick at the big league level.

Rated as the Yankees' No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Refsnyder competed for the backup infielder's job that went to Ronald Torreyes this spring. He began the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he rotated between second base, third base and right field, returning to the position where he was originally drafted.

"You try not to let it affect you," said Refsnyder, who was hitting .293 in the Minors. "It's my first year doing the utility stuff. We have good coaching staffs, so you just do the whole cliché, take it a pitch at a time."

Refsnyder was in the starting lineup on Saturday as the Yankees were facing a left-hander, and he was replaced for defense after Manaea came out of the game. Though he has received regular work with hitting coaches Alan Cockrell and Marcus Thames since being called up on Tuesday, Refsnyder said that getting back into game speed was an adjustment.

"The first couple pitches looked incredibly fast," Refsnyder said. "It was nice in the second at-bat. I saw a little bit more pitches, got a little bit more comfortable. It was nice."

With Alex Rodriguez due to be activated from the disabled list when the team returns to New York, it has been suggested that Refsnyder's current stint in the Majors is nearing its end. Girardi said that he would worry about that later, and Refsnyder said that he is taking the same approach.

"That's not really my job," Refsnyder said. "My job is just to prepare and help the team out in any way I can. That's pretty much what I focus on every time."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. 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.