ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Clint Frazier caused a bit of a stir with some veteran teammates in the clubhouse early this spring when he was slow to cut his flowing locks of crimson hair that seemed to flout the team’s policy on hair length.
What he did not do, general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday, was request the jersey number of an all-time Yankees legend.
“It just didn’t happen,” Cashman said by phone. “It’s false.”
Cashman was reacting to comments made on WFAN, which carries Yankees games, earlier in the day by broadcaster Suzyn Waldman when she was on the air with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. While discussing the 22-year-old Frazier, whose maturity has been a consistent topic of discussion with opposing team scouts and talent evaluators, Waldman said: “Did you hear the Clint story that Clint Frazier actually asked the Yankees if they ever unretire numbers?”
His request, she said: Mickey Mantle’s No. 7.
Cashman said he reached out to the club’s equipment manager, Rob Cucuzza, and his brother Lou Cucuzza Jr., the team’s clubhouse manager, both of whom said Frazier did not ask for that. Cashman also contacted Gary Denbo, the Yankees vice president of player development who oversees the minor leagues.
“It just didn’t happen, not in the major leagues, not in the minor leagues,” Cashman said.
Frazier, who will start the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre — where he was sent after the Yankees acquired him as part of the Andrew Miller deal with the Indians last season — told Jason Zillo, the club’s vice president of communications and media relations, that he never made a request of that nature.
Additionally, Zillo said, Frazier told him he’s not fond of that number to begin with.
Frazier tweeted early Wednesday evening that Waldman had reached out to him: “i appreciate Suzyn reaching out and I accept her apology. i would never ask for a legends number.”
Minutes later, he tweeted: “Ready to play some baseball. i care more about the front of the jersey than the back.”
Frazier had an up and-down spring in the field and at the plate — but certainly had his moments as well — producing a .273/.267/.432 slash line in 22 games.