Brian Cashman trying to upgrade Yankees

Brian Cashman watches batting practice at Steinbrenner Field

Brian Cashman watches batting practice at Steinbrenner Field on Feb. 18, 2014. (Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)

Brian Cashman didn't directly answer the question, which in its own way was an answer.

Are the Yankees, as currently constituted, a playoff team?

"I'm looking to make some additions if I can," Cashman said before Saturday night's game against the Red Sox.

The additions the Yankees need most are starting pitchers, two if possible, because of the uncertainty surrounding CC Sabathia's right knee and Michael Pineda's right shoulder.

Sabathia pitched in his first rehab game Saturday night for Class A Tampa and Pineda threw a flat-ground session earlier in the day at the team's minor-league complex.

The Yankees hope to have Sabathia back shortly after the All-Star break. The best-case scenario for Pineda, who told ESPNDeportes on Saturday that he felt "very good" after his session, would seem to be mid-August.

"I'd like to try to do things before those guys get back, if possible," Cashman said. "But I've already been trying. There's a reason we haven't done anything. It's not because of a lack of phone calls."

It's because the price tags on available pitchers are exceedingly high right now, and they probably won't come down all that much between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Even with the injuries, the Yankees have hung around. They were 41-37 entering Saturday night's game and are very much in the thick of the AL East and AL wild-card races.

"We're keeping ourselves in the mix, but we've got to be in the position to excel," Cashman said. "Our job is to excel and try to take control and even pull away if at all possible. But we're not in that taking-control-and-pulling-away category right now. We're [in] just in-the-mix category still. If I can do my job, I'll assist us in getting into that higher category."

 

Refsnyder in the bigs?

Second-base prospect Rob Refsnyder, whose rapid ascent in the organization has caught more than a few by surprise, currently is hitting .351 with a 1.025 OPS for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Cashman said it's probably a long shot that he makes it to the big leagues this season, but he pointed to starter Chase Whitley, who has excelled since his May 15 call-up, in terms of what is always possible.

"It's a big jump from there to here, but I wouldn't [rule it out],'' Cashman said. "A guy like Chase Whitley is showing you wouldn't bet against anybody coming up here and doing well. I think of anybody on their roster, a guy like Whitley has given them hope that they can come up here and contribute."

Extra basesLefthander Jacob Lindgren, the club's first pick of the 2014 draft (taken 55th overall), made his professional debut for the GCL Yankees on Saturday, allowing two hits and striking out two in one shutout inning . . . Country music star Kenny Chesney was an on-field guest of Cashman's during batting practice.

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