TAMPA, Fla. — It looks as if Clint Frazier and the Yankees dodged what could have been a significant injury.
Still, they probably won’t know for sure for the next day or two.
Frazier, named the starting leftfielder before spring training began, crashed into the wall in left Tuesday afternoon in pursuit of a homer hit by Willi Castro of the Tigers in the fourth inning of a 6-5 loss in Lakeland. Frazier hitting the wall caused a "thud" that could be heard throughout the ballpark.
Frazier, whose 2018 season was all but wiped out by a concussion suffered in late February of 2018 when he ran hard into a wall in Bradenton in a game against Pittsburgh. He was checked by the training staff and manager Aaron Boone and stayed in the game. Frazier struck out in the top of the fifth and was removed in the bottom half.
"He hit the wall pretty well right there," said centerfielder Aaron Hicks, who immediately ran to check on Frazier. "Just kind of ran over to see how he was feeling. I’ve been that guy that had a concussion and it took a while being comfortable around the wall again. He seemed like he was doing OK."
It should be noted Frazier talked to the media after that game in Bradenton in 2018, only to experience symptoms in the days that followed.
Said Boone Tuesday: "Clint came out fine. Actually when I got out there, he was very clear-eyed and he basically said, ‘I know what it feels like when you hit the wall (and get a concussion).’ And he said it was nothing like that."
That’s one way to stake a claim to the open fifth starter spot.
In his second outing of the spring — Tuesday afternoon against the Tigers — Deivi Garcia struck out five in three scoreless innings.
"Electric," one opposing team talent evaluator said in describing the 37-pitch outing by the 21-year-old righthander (25 were strikes).
Garcia, whose big-league debut came last Aug. 30, allowed two hits and did not walk a batter.
"I felt really good today," Garcia said through his interpreter. "I think all of my pitches were working exactly how I wanted them to work."
In his spring debut last Thursday against the Phillies in Clearwater, Garcia allowed two solo homers in two innings but also struck out three.
"Definitely one of the things we wanted to do in this outing was to make better decisions regarding pitches in certain counts," Garcia said. "And today I felt like there was quality behind those pitches. I felt I was executing and commanding in the areas I wanted to attack."
Lefty reliever Lucas Luetge has raised some eyebrows with his performance so far. The 33-year-old non-roster invitee, who hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since April 2015 with the Mariners, has struck out eight of 11 batters, with zero walks, in three scoreless innings this spring. Leutge making the club out of camp was always a longshot but with the injury to Zack Britton and his performance to this point, the veteran is at least putting himself in the conversation.
"I think everybody in my position that’s a non-roster invitee knows the results do matter for us," Luetge said. "Especially early. First impressions matter."
With David Lennon in Lakeland