The Red Sox placed Rob Refsnyder on the 10-day injured list with low back spasms on Monday, thus ending the outfielder’s season.
Refsnyder, 31, originally signed a minor-league deal with the Sox last December. The former fifth-round draft pick came with plenty of experience, as he previously bounced around between the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, Rangers, and Twins over the course of six seasons after breaking in with New York in 2015.
Once heralded as a top prospect in the Yankees organization, Refsnyder had to settle for a minors pact with Boston this past winter. After failing to make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster, the right-handed hitter began his season with Triple-A Worcester. He first served as a COVID-related substitute in late April before having his contract selected on a full-time basis in early June.
Though he missed some time in August with a right knee sprain, Refsnyder still proved to be a valuable asset for the Red Sox in 2022. In 57 games, he batted .307/.384/.497 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 21 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, 15 walks, and 46 strikeouts over 177 plate appearances.
“Great season. Great job for us,” manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) on Monday. “He was really good. Offensively, the versatility, the quality of the at-bats were awesome.”
As advertised, Refsnyder proved to be particularly effective against left-handed pitching by going 23-for-64 (.359) with six doubles and three homers off southpaws. He also posted a .417 on-base percentage and .932 OPS in 17 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter.
Defensively, Refsnyder saw playing time at all three outfield positions for the Sox. The 6-foot, 205-pounder logged 163 innings in right, 115 innings in center, and 24 2/3 innings in left. His one outfield assist came against the Rays at Tropicana Field on April 24. He also made a fantastic diving catch against the Mariners in Seattle on June 12.
Refsnyder, who turns 32 in March, is under club control through 2024 and is eligible for salary arbitration next year. Given his ability to hit lefties and play all over the outfield, it certainly seems like Refsnyder is in the Red Sox’ plans for 2023 as a potential fourth outfielder.
“He’s a guy we definitely can rely on,” Cora said, via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. “We recognized it in spring training. I remember we were talking (during) the lockout and all that. We had our meetings with the information department. And the ability to impact the baseball was there and the projections. Defensively solid.
“It’s a matter of staying healthy,” added Cora. “That’s the most important thing with him. We’ll set up a good program for him in the off-season and this is a guy we really like. We really like. And he can contribute at this level.”
(Picture of Rob Refsnyder: Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)