TRENTON, NJ - Rob Refsnyder came into the season with some pretty heavy expectations from critics…
Refsnyder Not Getting Caught Up
"It's been fun getting to know some of the older guys and building relationships with some of the younger guys too," he said. "Camp-wise I'm just working on my defense. 'Mendi' [defensive coordinator Carlos Mendoza] and I were joking around. I was telling him he has some headaches this year and I was his migraine last year. But this year's been good.
"'Mendi' and I have been working hard just tuning everything up and swing-wise I've built a good relationship with J-Row [hitting coordinator James Rowson]. I'm just trying to bounce ideas off of everyone because everyone is different and has different ideas. I'm getting some ideas and taking it into my game to see how it works out."
While there isn't much to write home about result-wise from his time in big league camp seeing that he collected just three at-bats and went hitless, he says his time over at Steinbrenner Field this Spring has been invaluable.
"Butch [Wynegar] was mostly about staying quiet [at the plate] and just being consistent. Butch was saying that a lot of us have the same mechanics as those guys [in the big leagues], they're just able to repeat it, they're a little bit smarter, and have a little bit more wisdom.
"Just being consistent, that's my goal all year. I know there's going to be ups and downs results-wise but if I'm consistent mentality-wise and with my work ethic I think I'm going to have a good year and it's going be a successful year because we're stacked this year."
To aid in his ability to be as consistent as possible, Refsnyder showed up to camp in great shape. He physically looks a lot stronger than a year ago and better prepared to handle the rigors of a long season.
"That was my goal," he insisted. "I wanted to feel healthier and stronger and for me in college it was a lot of weight lifting so I got in touch with my strength coach in [the University of] Arizona and he put me on a strength program.
"I put on a good 10-15 pounds of muscle and going into camp you know you're going to lose five pounds. It's a slam dunk, everyone does it because you're out here all day, you don't eat, you sweat, so that was my goal, to get bigger.
"Last year I weighed 188 at the end of the year and this year I'm right at 202, 203 [pounds]. It's going to be big for my legs and at the end of the year I'll probably be right around 195."
He entered the professional ranks with the reputation among industry evaluators as somebody who could eventually hit for more power, not necessarily as a big home run hitter but one who could and really should improve on the six home runs he hit in his first full season last year.
"Younger guys think power comes from bigger swings and more effort. Really it's about being smarter, getting in better counts, getting at pitches that are over the plate, balls that you can drive for doubles.
"At Instructs I worked with P.J. [Pilittere] a lot and the biggest thing was getting into a better count and letting it loose on a good pitch 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, and letting that ball travel a little more. For me this year all I want to do is get into good counts and swing at a good pitch.
"In the past I've swung at pitches near my knees because I could hit a single or hit it hard on the ground and maybe this year I'll expand it a little bit more and swing at pitches more around my belt and get more doubles and more home runs.
"I still think I'm raw in the sense of my power. I think I can build on that. Last year I had a lot of doubles off of the wall and I joked around that I had 'off the wall power' but I think that stuff will take care of itself."
Feeling stronger than ever and certainly soaking in as much knowledge as possible, and feeling smarter overall as a result, Refsnyder has high expectations for himself in 2014 but they aren't necessarily numbers related.
"Be healthy, be strong, and win a lot of games," he said of his main goals. "Individually I just want to be consistent. I don't really get into the number thing and say I want to hit .300.
"You can't control that. You could do everything perfect, hit a line drive as hard as you can and it's an out or you could get absolutely obliterated on a fastball inside and get a little duck single to the second baseman.
"So results, as much as the media and the fans get caught into that, it's important, but in the long run it's about having competitive at-bats and winning games. That's what the Yankees are all about."
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