In the first few months of the season, the twins went through plans A, B and C in midfield.
It turns out that Plan D works better than the twins could ever have imagined.
With injuries to Byron Buxton and Jake Cave, the twins called Rob Refsnyder in mid-May. Refsnyder had not played any innings in midfield in the major league before this season and only made 14 professional appearances there. When Refsnyder was called up, the twins believed he might be able to center if necessary, but it was preferable to move Max Kepler there.
In a game where Kepler left early with a left Achilles tendon strain, Refsnyder had two RBI singles, one of which was a hit in the eighth inning that made the difference in the Twins’ 6-5 win over the Royals on Saturday afternoon at 6:00 p.m. proved Zielfeld to Kansas City scoring three runs in the final two innings.
“Refsnyder was a bit of a savior in this situation,” said manager Rocco Baldelli. “We definitely needed someone who could come in and fill in at a time of desperate need to play in midfield every day.” … We wanted him to come in, play hard, do his job, but he was much, much more than that to us. ”
Refsnyder’s results in the Major League this season – he’s now hitting 0.381 at a base percentage of 0.426 and a slugging percentage of 0.595 since his draft – are the result of the tinkering he did on revising his swing with Triple-A has made punch trainer Matt Borgshulte at the alternative location.
Borgshulte had told the 30-year-old journeyman that he believed there was “more in the tank”, and the two set about exploring this. Among the changes he’s made, his posture is more crouched and his hands are higher.
“The easiest way to put it is, I would probably just put my foot and everything was pretty stationary,” Refsnyder said. “Now I’m trying to run a bit, trying to do a toe tip where my hands come down with it, so it’s equal and opposite. As I go forward, my hands come up again. It’s easy, but it got me a lot helped. “
Refsnyder got instant results in the first simulation game he played, and the low pressure situation at the alternate location gave him the freedom to fail, he said.
“I’m 30. If I failed Triple-A for a month, I’d probably get released, to be honest,” he said. “… I wasn’t scared, ‘Oh, if I go 0 versus 20 and cross out a bunch while trying a new pose. ‘I was given the freedom,’ OK, that didn’t ‘. I don’t feel good the first time, so I’ll try something new. ”
Refsnyder will continue to play a huge role in the Twins’ outfield, with Kepler potentially eligible for the injured list. Kepler has been slowed down by a left achilles tendon problem for more than a week, but when Kepler tried to leak a grounder on Saturday he felt something and was immediately removed.
The twins will send him to an MRI and examine him from there, but Baldelli said he could see it as a “potential IL-type situation” for Kepler.
And in his absence, the twins will continue to need others to strengthen themselves. Others like Refsnyder. Others, like rookie Trevor Larnach, who hit a solo home run into the center in the second inning. Others, like Jorge Polanco and Mitch Garver, each of whom won in support of J.A. Happ.
Happ gave up only two runs in his five-inning game, both came to a Salvador Pérez homerun with two runs in the third run, before Refsnyder’s base-laden single contributed to the Twins forever in the fourth Bring lace.
“We definitely needed someone who could come in at a time of desperate need and play midfield every day,” said Baldelli. “I mean, he played a good midfield, he swung the club great. He came in big places and ran in runs. He really did everything.”
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