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."