Cashman prioritizes adding bat before August

Cashman prioritizes adding bat before August

NEW YORK -- The reformulated Yankees rotation has performed better than Brian Cashman would have anticipated, and the general manager said that he'd prefer to focus his attention on acquiring a big bat as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.

"It's weird," Cashman said in an interview with ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "Our pitching has been drastically altered because of the injuries, and despite losing four out of five starters and all that stuff, our pitching has survived -- surprisingly -- to this point. I think our offense should be better.

"It still feels like the pitching needs more help, but honestly, the offense has been consistently poor throughout the entire year. The answer has to be an offensive piece, I guess."

The Yankees believe they upgraded their infield this week by acquiring Chase Headley from the Padres, but they could also use a right-handed-hitting outfielder. The Twins' Josh Willingham makes some sense as a potential trade target, as does the Rangers' Alex Rios.

Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury have been constants in the Yankees' outfield this year, but 40-year-old Ichiro Suzuki has faltered with regular playing time, and the team still isn't sure if Carlos Beltran will be able to return to defensive duty this year because of a bone spur in his right elbow.

Cashman also said that he does not see homegrown 23-year-old Rob Refsnyder as the answer to help a lineup that produced 395 runs through its first 100 games; entering Thursday, only the Astros (394) had scored fewer runs among American League teams this season.

Refsnyder has enjoyed some buzz at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he had a .301/.401/.497 slash line entering play on Thursday, but Cashman said that he does not believe Refsnyder would represent a significant upgrade over Brian Roberts at second base right now.

"He has a chance to be the second baseman of the future, maybe as early as next year," Cashman said, adding that if Refsnyder does see any big league time in 2014, it would likely be in the outfield. "If we can avoid it, I don't think we'd get the impact over the next two months that people would think. That jump from Triple-A to the big leagues is larger than it's ever been."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.