Refsnyder impressing Girardi with versatility

First-base coach Pena proud to see son Francisco behind plate for O's

Refsnyder impressing Girardi with versatility

BALTIMORE -- When first baseman Mark Teixeira landed on the disabled list Saturday -- a day after backup first baseman Dustin Ackley underwent season-ending shoulder surgery -- the Yankees were left to answer the age-old question: Who's on first?

With first-base prospect Greg Bird also out for the season, the Yankees are essentially down to their fourth and fifth options on the organizational depth chart.

"Very seldom are you four deep at any position," manager Joe Girardi said.

That's why the Yankees are adjusting on the fly with Rob Refsnyder, the 25-year-old rookie who made his first professional start at first base in Saturday's 8-6 win over the Orioles. Refsnyder cleanly fielded all three grounders hit to him, and he was back in the starting lineup Sunday.

Not bad for a guy who didn't even own a first baseman's glove until just a few days ago.

"I'm just trying to do my best out there," Refsnyder said after going 1-for-4 with an RBI double and a run scored Saturday.

"Just playing a completely new position, but I've got some good teammates, some good coaches -- [Teixeira] was giving me some pointers before the game. I'm just trying to work hard before the game, learn as much as possible, and then during the game, focus on the little things and chip in any way I can."

Refsnyder has primarily played second base and right field in five seasons in the Yankees' Minor League system. Now, less than a week after being recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the job at first is likely Refsnyder's to lose until Teixeira returns.

"I just want to be part of the Yankees and help the guys out in any way possible, so I'm open to anything," Refsnyder said. "I'll work at anything."

The Yankees recalled first baseman Chris Parmelee from Triple-A on Saturday, but given Refsnyder's potential at the plate, Girardi seems inclined to include him in his lineup.

"So far, so good," Girardi said of Refsnyder's first-base experience. "He's made the plays and that's why we're continuing to run him out there. And his at-bats have been really good.

"You look at his at-bats from [Saturday], he moved the runner, he had a double in the right-field corner, he sprays the ball all over, he hits the ball gap to gap, he has power. If he just does what he's capable of doing, we think he's going to help."

Parmelee, 28, is the more experienced and stronger defender and could be an option as a late-game defensive replacement, as was the case Saturday.

First-base coach Pena a proud dad

• Sunday's game had special significance for Yankees first-base coach Tony Pena, as his son Francisco started behind the plate for the Orioles. This is the first time Tony will see Francisco play in the big leagues.

"When you're a father," Tony said, "your kids are born, you raise them and you raise them the right way and you don't want them to do anything bad. You want them to succeed. And if I said I want Francisco to go 0-for-4, I'd be lying to you. I want Francisco to do well, but I want to win."

Francisco, 26, went 2-for-4 with his first career homer in his season debut Thursday. Sunday was his 11th career big league game.

Ben Raby is a contributor to based in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore region. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.