Welcome to the second half, which is actually about two weeks beyond the mid-point of the season.
It’s worth noting that the Triple-A RailRiders were back in action last night. That’s noteworthy if only because Rob Refsnyder — probably the buzz-worthy, on-the-verge prospect in the Yankees system — was back at second base. His recent time in right field seemed to create the impression that the Yankees were preparing for a nearly immediate call-up.
Not so, says general manager Brian Cashman.
“My preference would be to let him play the year in Triple-A,” Cashman said. “… We’re looking toward him more for 2015, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get here in 2014. But I wouldn’t bet on it.”
Refnsyder is in just his second year as a second baseman, and he has a limited upper-level at-bats. Cashman also noted that Refsnyder does not have to be Rule 5 protected this winter, which means adding him to the 40-man would fill a spot that otherwise might help ease the annual roster crunch.
Cashman made sure to say that players can sometimes force the organization to change its plan.
“He’s certainly put himself on the radar,” Cashman said. “Right now I don’t have any plans to call him up. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen.”
A few other quick notes heading into tonight’s return from the All-Star break:
• Cashman said the Yankees are still planning to have Carlos Beltran back from the disabled list for tonight’s game. They’ve already optioned Bryan Mitchell to Triple-A, so Beltran’s roster spot is open.
• Although the Yankees haven’t announced a rotation beyond this weekend series — Phelps, McCarthy, Kuroda — it seems pretty clear that Shane Greene will be the No. 4, and the most obvious No. 5 remains Chase Whitley. It’s worth wondering how many more innings Whitley can provide given the fact he’s already approaching his career high. “We have to do whatever we have to do until we have a better option,” Cashman said.
• At some point yesterday, Cashman indicated to Andrew Marchand that he’s prioritizing pitching as he approaches the trade deadline  — that’s the approach that actually makes the most sense to me — but in talking to him on the phone yesterday afternoon, Cashman said he realizes that the offense has also struggled despite being relatively healthy. “Pitching and offense both,” he said of his trade search. “… It’s more obvious that the pitching needs fixing.”
• After he came up limping during the All-Star Game, Aroldis Chapman indicated that he’s just fine and expects to be healthy and active for this weekend’s series at Yankee Stadium. Although it would be a lot of fun to see Chapman pitch, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for the Yankees if the Reds were without their hard-throwing closer for a few days.
• Worth noting that the Reds currently have both Brandon Philips and Joey Votto on the disabled list.
Picture from the Charleston Riverdogs