Rob Refsnyder has started three straight games at second base since being called up by the Yankees last week. He'll probably start Saturday against Mariners righthander Hisashi Iwakuma, and Stephen Drew's lagging bat means it'll be tempting to start him long after that, too.
But despite all signs pointing to the Yankees having a new second baseman, Joe Girardi was coy about making any such designation.
Latest Yankees stories
"I want to see what the kid can do," Girardi said Friday while singing Refsnyder's praises. And yet: "He's not been promised anything . . . Drew, even though his average is not high, he did hit some home runs . . . played pretty good second base for us and we basically got to first place with him as our everyday second baseman, so is it a two-week trial for Ref? No, I'm not going to say that."
Refsnyder, who had two hits (including a ninth-inning homer) against the Red Sox the Sunday before the All-Star break, has a reputation for being a formidable offensive presence, as well as a possible liability with the glove. Against the Mariners, he went 0-for-2 and his awkward flip to Didi Gregorius in the second inning nearly hit runner Austin Jackson in the back; Gregorius managed to corral the throw for the fielder's choice.
Girardi, though, said so far, he had no great qualms about the 24-year-old's defense.
"I think he's made some major improvements," Girardi said. "I think he's much more comfortable playing at second base playing down in Triple-A."
One thing is certain: Refsnyder has a real chance to prove that he belongs, and this will become increasingly important as Carlos Beltran (strained left oblique) comes closer to rejoining the team. Girardi said that Beltran would be evaluated after a rehab game yesterday and, when he's deemed healthy, the team will have to decide who to send down in his place.
As of now, Girardi refused to say that Refsnyder is safe, though the player he replaced, Drew, is hitting .187.
"When we have to make a move, we'll sit down and talk as a club as to what's the best thing to do," he said. "A lot of things can happen between now and when [Beltran] gets back."
Notes & quotes: The Yankees activated Brendan Ryan from the 15-day DL and sent Gregorio Petit back down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.