Teixeira injury opens possible spot for Refsnyder

Some Yankees fans may have been surprised not to see Rob Refsnyder in the lineup Friday night at Baltimore, the fourth and last stop on the trip. The rookie had a big game Thursday at Detroit (double, single, two runs, one RBI), and the Yankees can use all the offense they can find these days.

Although he was not in the starting lineup, Refsnyder got into the game in the third inning as a replacement at first base for Mark Teixeira, who left because of a right knee injury. Refsnyder had not played first base since college, but he is getting used to moving around the diamond. 

He played the outfield mostly at the University of Arizona but was converted into a second baseman in the Yankees’ minor-league system. During spring training this year Refsnyder played some third base as well but did not take to the position. Since coming up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this week Refsnyder has played right field and second base. He has also been working out at first base.

The Yankees have been vulnerable at that position even before Teixeira got hurt. Dustin Ackley is out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Backup catcher Austin Romine has been used at first base, but he had to catch Friday night because Brian McCann was nursing a hyperextended left elbow.

Teixeira has had a dismal first third of a season (Friday night was game number 54, the one-third mark). The switch hitter is batting .180 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 167 at-bats. At this point a year ago, Tex had 16 homers and 40 RBI while batting .245.

His lack of productivity has been a factor in the Yankees’ woeful offense. They entered play Friday night last in the American League in batting (.232) and tied with the Twins for last in runs (198).

Scoring runs was not as much a problem for the Yankees Friday night as it was preventing them. The Yankees had not homered in the previous three games but took a 4-1 lead against Orioles righthander Chris Tillman on a two-run blast by Carlos Beltran and solo shots by Alex Rodriguez and Austin Romine.

Orioles slugger Chris Davis made the score 4-2 with his 11th homer, in the fourth. Nathan Eovaldi’s string of winning starts ended at five when he lost a 5-2 lead in the sixth. It was the first time in six starts that he failed to get through the sixth inning.

A bases-loaded single by Matt Wieters chased Eovaldi. Kirby Yates got a big strikeout but gave up a two-out double to Jonathan Schoop that tied the score. For his third floor straight appearance, Dellin Betances was scored upon, and the run he gave up in the seventh proved the decider. 

Singles by Adam Jones and Hyun Soo Kim put runners on the corners with none out. A slow grounder along the third base line by Manny Machado was well placed enough for Jones to score as Chase Headley had no other play but to get an out at first base

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