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Clint Frazier's stance on slump: What I'm doing isn't working

Clint Frazier of the Yankees walks back to

Clint Frazier of the Yankees walks back to the dugout after striking out during the eighth inning against the Rays at Yankee Stadium on April 16. Credit: Jim McIsaac

BALTIMORE — Clint Frazier has described himself as "a feel hitter."

As a result, he constantly tinkers with his approach, something he said has affected him in a negative way this season. He is off to an awful start.

"I would say I’m more of a feel hitter, [and] the best way that I can explain that is whatever feels good that day is what I’m taking to the plate," said Frazier, who entered Monday night’s game against the Orioles in a 2-for-36 slump with 17 strikeouts that had dropped him to a .146/.293/.188 slash line. "And it’s a lot of the same moves, it’s just sometimes I stand up a little bit higher, sometimes I get in my legs a little bit more. But I don’t want to be a guy that changes [all the time]."

He later said, "I’m not changing my swing."

Frazier, who started in leftfield and hit ninth Monday night, brought a significant change into spring training: a somewhat odd stance that had him up on the toes of his left foot, heel pointing upward and his leg turned in.

After Sunday’s 7-3 loss to Cleveland, he indicated that he and hitting coach Marcus Thames have begun work on changing that.

"If you follow the course of my career, I have like 500 different batting stances, and they’ve all worked at one point in time," said Frazier, who got off to a 5-for-12 start this season before slumping. "That’s the difficult part; I’ve never really settled in to a stance.

"The stuff I was doing was not working, so it was time for me to kind of go back and look at the archives and see what I can do to get in my legs better to be able to get down on time. Because for me to able to swing, the little hitch I have in my swing, if it fires a little bit late, then I have trouble connecting on pitches that I would normally [hit]."

While Frazier said he doesn’t want to be "a guy that [constantly] changes," Aaron Boone said before Monday’s game that each hitter is different and that constant tinkering isn’t necessarily a negative.

"We’re in Baltimore right now, and one of the best ever at that was Cal Ripken Jr.," Boone said. "He had a different stance, it seemed like, almost every single day, and it worked out pretty well for him. Everyone’s a little bit different."

Frazier made one of the defensive plays of the year on Sunday — a diving catch in the left-centerfield gap, with his body fully horizontal at the time of the grab, to steal an extra-base hit from Jordan Luplow — but the slump has been particularly ill-timed.

He essentially was handed the starting leftfield job in the offseason, a point of view reiterated by Brian Cashman and Boone even after Brett Gardner re-signed just before the start of spring training. But as Frazier has struggled, among the results have been more playing time for the 37-year-old Gardner.

Frazier said that at the moment, he has no legitimate claim to more than he’s gotten.

"Obviously, it’s not fun to not play," he said. "But if I were to sit back and say that I deserve to be in there every single day based off of the stuff that I’ve been doing at the plate, then I’d be wrong. I think it’s justified [not playing every day]. I haven’t given any production out there in left. One person can’t and the next person gets an opportunity; that’s how I got into the situation I’m in right now.

"What can you do besides go out there and just keep going? The only way is up."

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