Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks probably will return from their injuries in the coming weeks. The Yankees’ brain trust may have to do some heavy thinking to figure out how they can keep Clint Frazier up here instead of sending him back down there to the minors.
“I look forward to those [mental] gymnastics,” Aaron Boone said.
Because Frazier is on the high bar right now, swinging like he never wants to see the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania again.
The 24-year-old outfielder served as the DH Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium and went 3-for-4, including an RBI double in the fourth and a leadoff single in the seventh that triggered the go-ahead rally in the Yankees’ 5-3 win over the Red Sox. He also sent up a solo homer in the 8-0 win over Boston in Tuesday night’s opener of the two-game series.
“I’m trying to live in my shoes right now and not too far ahead,” Frazier said. “It’s difficult because obviously I want to stay here and I think that I deserve to be here. I mean, the numbers, I think, are speaking for themselves. I know it’s a small sample size, but I feel comfortable here. I’m just happy that I’m getting an opportunity and we won two games in a row.”
He has been taking advantage of the opportunity and making his case to stay. The numbers are speaking loudly after 13 games and 45 at-bats that followed his call-up on April 1 when Stanton went on the 10-day injured list.
Frazier’s slash line spells out to .333/.347/.622. He’s second on the team in batting average and in RBIs with 12. His four homers match his career-high total across 39 games in his first taste of the majors with the Yankees in 2017.
“He’s a guy that I think the talent and the bat speed and the ability to impact the ball kind of leaps off the screen,” Boone said. “I think everyone sees that.”
And now his confidence is growing with every hit.
“It’s easy to feel confident whenever you get results,” Frazier said. “So I’ve got to make sure I stay that way even when I’m not getting hits.”
Cleveland made him the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft. The Yankees acquired him before the trade deadline in 2016 when they were collecting prospects in exchange for veterans, in this case reliever Andrew Miller. General manager Brian Cashman spoke then about Frazier’s bat speed being “legendary.”
Frazier’s hopes for last season were ruined by a concussion early in spring training and the recurring aftershocks of migraines. Frazier was limited to 15 games with the Yankees and 54 in the minors. It’s gratifying for him now to be feeling healthy and getting a chance and producing.
“Especially after going through what I went through last year,” Frazier said. “All I wanted to do was be on the field. So when that gets taken away from you, you realize the times you probably took baseball for granted.”
Now he can continue to try to prove that he’s worth keeping around somehow despite the eventual returning crowd.
“We’re the Yankees, so we can bolster our lineup a ton of ways,” Frazier said. “So it’s hard being a young guy trying to break through. You need to catch a break at some time. You hate for it to be at the expense of somebody’s ability to stay on the field. But it happens, and the next guy’s up.
“You know, I want to stay here for a long time. It’s a really cool place to play.”