MINNEAPOLIS — Todd Frazier figures, hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
The third baseman, acquired from the White Sox late Tuesday night, made his Yankees debut in Wednesday afternoon’s loss to the Twins, pinch hitting in the seventh inning, wearing No. 29. Before that, Frazier wore No. 21 the entirety of his career, first with the Reds, then with the White Sox, and would like to wear it again.
The number isn’t retired but no Yankee has worn it regularly since Paul O’Neill retired in 2001 (LaTroy Hawkins wore it briefly in 2008 before essentially being harassed by fans into giving it up). Frazier said he planned to reach out to the exceedingly popular former Yankee, now a broadcaster with YES.
“I was a big Paul O’Neill fan,” the 31-year-old said with a smile. “That’s why I wear the number 21. Hopefully I can talk to him and maybe I can be able to get that number before I get back home.”
David Robertson had no such challenge in getting his familiar No. 30.
Rookie Clint Frazier had been wearing it since his call-up a couple of weeks ago but a No. 77 was hanging in his locker here even before Robertson arrived in the clubhouse.
“I was given an option,” said Clint Frazier, who brought a .940 OPS into Wednesday’s game and went 2-for-4. “Out of respect for him I’m going to let him have his jersey because I’ve been here [in the big leagues] for like five minutes.”
The 22-year-old smiled a second time.
“I wanted a number with a seven in it and there’s not many available numbers,” he said. “Judge wears 99, so I’m going to go with something like 77 and hope someone else picks 88 in the outfield.”
To add Frazier, Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the roster, the Yankees optioned lefthander Chasen Shreve to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and designated first baseman Ji-Man Choi and utilityman Rob Refsnyder for assignment.