NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi could've put a halt to the Rob Refsnyder experiment at first base last week. With Mark Teixeira returning from the disabled list, Girardi had the option to stick with the experienced Ike Davis as a backup.
He didn't choose the safe option. He chose to take a risk, citing Refsnyder's ability to put together quality at-bats and his versatility as strong points. Davis was waived, and Refsnyder stayed. And even though Refsnyder committed an error at first base in the Yankees' 9-7 win on Wednesday, Girardi is sticking by the 25-year-old.
"He's adjusting on the fly," Girardi said. "He has to get the reps and different things."
With two outs in the first inning Wednesday, Rangers left fielder Nomar Mazara chopped a slow roller down the first-base line. Masahiro Tanaka barehanded it, turned and fired toward Refsnyder.
He dropped the ball.
Tanaka retired the next batter, but Girardi still made it a point to bring Refsnyder over to Teixeira in the dugout. The manager asked Teixeira how to properly approach that situation.
"Tex goes, 'That's probably the hardest play that we have to deal with,'" Girardi said. "Tanaka throws it behind the runner, you don't see it, you pick up the ball late, it's probably almost like a panic in a sense. Because you're always used to seeing the baseball, all of a sudden you don't see the baseball and here it appears."
Teixeira said he enjoys talking with Refsnyder about playing first. And with the veteran's injury history meaning he'll need ample rest, Refsnyder will continue to be relied on.
"If I have to take a day off to rest my knee, I think he's doing really well filling in for me," Teixeira said.
Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.