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Yankees Demote Refsnyder to Much Surprise

Less than a week ago New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi sat in front of the media and told reporters that the recently called up Rob Refsnyder was going to get a chance to earn a spot on the big league roster.

On Sunday, just four games into Refsnyder’s major league career, the Yankees spun 180 degrees and optioned the 24-year-old back down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in favor of activating utility infielder Brendan Ryan. It was a move that left many confused, especially given the backing the Bombers had publicly given Refsnyder.

From a personnel standpoint, the move does make sense in a way. New York would have had to designate Ryan for assignment had they decided not to reinstate him on the major league roster. Refsnyder on the other hand still has plenty of options and can be brought up whenever the team desires, which is exactly why Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman made the move to demote him after such a short stint.

“I can get Refsnyder back. I think it’s better to have all assets in play to give us as much flexibility as we can have,” Cashman told reporters in regards to the July 31 trade deadline, which is now less than two weeks away.

Fair enough Cash, and presumably, Girardi. The decision does indeed allow them to keep guys like Ryan and Stephen Drew in play as a currently thin market starts to develop. However, in another way, it also binds them.

While two weeks is not exactly a fair sample size, it is certainly more opportunistic than the four games Refsnyder got. Had the Yankees given him a real chance prior to the deadline, it would have been a way to check out another one of their “assets.” At this point the team knows exactly what they are getting with Ryan and Drew – strong defense and beyond abysmal offense. Neither guy can be the answer going forward if the Yankees want to hang onto the American League East, so why not see if the rookie could have taken the spot before the deadline?

If Refsnyder had succeed, the job would have been his and the Yankees would have finally been able to move away from the black hole that has been the right side of the middle infield these past two years. If he had failed, then the team would know to go after a guy like Martin Prado or Ben Zobrist before July 31. It just seems like hope for the kid was abandoned too quickly by an organization in desperate need of an upgrade at second.

No one is saying Refsnyder was going to be the team’s savior, reincarnation of Robinson Cano or even just good. However, it is definable hard to make any concrete judgement after just four games.

Refsnyder was sent down after going 2-12 in 13 plate appearances with one home run and two RBI. Originally an outfielder in college, he made one error in the field. Refsnyder is batting .296 in the minors this season with seven homers, 37 RBI, 10 stolen bases and an .800 OPS.

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