Clint Frazier entered spring training with an outside chance of making the Yankees’ 25-man roster.
His ensuing Grapefruit League season ensured that wouldn’t happen, though. The 24-year-old outfield prospect, a favorite among Yankees fans, had a .143/.228/.245 slash line in 18 games.
“I think part of that was him wanting to come in and really prove himself,” manager Aaron Boone said.
But with Monday’s surprising news that Giancarlo Stanton was bound for the injured list with a left biceps strain, Frazier, who has played in a combined 54 big-league games in the past two seasons, was recalled to take the slugger’s place.
“It’s an opportunity that I wanted last year,” said Frazier, who missed most of last season dealing with lingering effects of the concussion he suffered in spring training. “I think there was a chance for me to come up and unfortunately, I was going through my own kind of injuries so I didn’t get the opportunity. Right now, I’m feeling the best I’ve felt at the plate in a long time, so I think that extra couple days in Tampa is going to be very beneficial for me.”
That occurred, he said, after the Yankees cut him from big-league camp with about a week to go in spring training.
“I just went back to being as simple as I could and just trying to be as athletic as I can in the box, and the results were immediate,” Frazier said. “The first game that I tried what I was doing, I went 5-for-5, so I just tried to run with it after that.”
Though Mike Tauchman, whom the Yankees acquired March 23, started Monday night, Boone said Frazier will get his chances.
“He’s been raking,” Boone said. “In the minor-league games down there [Tampa], he’s been tearing the cover off the ball, so I feel like he’s in a really good place. He’s going to get some good opportunities.”
CC Sabathia, working in extended spring training in Tampa, struck out five in four scoreless innings in his third minor-league game Monday.
“I felt good, no problems,” Sabathia told The Associated Press. “The pitches were working.”
Sabathia, still recovering from an offseason that included a cleanup procedure on his right knee and an angioplasty, is expected back in mid-April. On Monday, he said “I should be good after Sunday,” a day he’s scheduled to pitch five innings for Class A Tampa.
“It’s just up to them [the Yankees] after that,” he said.