Rob Refsnyder, who turned 30 in March, is trying to find his place in the major leagues on his fifth team in his seventh year at that level.
He may have found his home with the Minnesota Twins.
Refsnyder, who has returned to the outfield this year for the first time since playing right field at Arizona, previously was with the New York Yankees (who drafted him in the fifth round in 2012), Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) May 26, 2021
He entered this season with a career batting average of .201 with only four home runs and 23 RBIs in 181 games at the big-league level.
The Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds have released him.
Since first playing with the Yankees in 2015, he has made nine minor-league appearances, including this season at Triple-A St. Paul before he was called up on May 15 when center fielder Jake Cave was placed on the 60-day injured list with a back injury.
Cave was filling in for Byron Buxton, who is on the injured list with a strained hip.
Refsnyder’s performance in Minnesota’s 7-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night is indicative of his awakening with the Twins.
— Bally Sports North (@BallySportsNOR) May 26, 2021
Refsnyder doubled twice, hit his second home run of the season, drove in two runs, scored on a wild pitch and made a highlight-reel diving catch leading the Twins to their fifth win in six games.
He is batting .438 with seven RBIs in his first 11 games as a Twin.
His sixth-inning diving catch after sprinting to the infield robbed Cedric Mullins of a hit.
“I made some mechanical adjustments at the alternate site, and I’ve been fortunate that carried over to the big-league side,” Refsnyder said of his hitting to Bally Sports North. “I’m just trying to hold the fort down until Buck (Buxton) gets back. That’s his position out there and he’s special to watch out there so I’m just trying to hold it down until he’s healthy.”
After Refsnyder became a three-sport star at Laguna Hills (Calif.) High School, he played right field for Arizona and was named the CWS Most Outstanding Play for Andy Lopez’s team in 2012.
Refsnyder’s wife is former Arizona All-American swimmer Monica Drake. They have a 2-month-old son named Drake. Refsnyder was holding his son when he got the call of his promotion to the Twins two weeks ago.
“It was a pretty special moment,” Refsnyder told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I feel really, really blessed. I don’t take these opportunities for granted. Being that up-and-down guy throughout my career, you kind of savor these moments a little bit longer than you’d like to admit.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District