ANAHEIM, Calif.— Clint Frazier walked with a limp in the clubhouse early Tuesday morning after the Yankees outlasted the Angels in 14 innings but was resolute.
He would play Tuesday night.
As the 24-year-old put it: “The IL is too full for us, so I’m good. I’m going to keep playing.”
The IL, of course, is the injured list, which has been filled much of the season for the Yankees, 13 at the moment.
Frazier, who tweaked his left ankle at second base on a pickoff attempt in the 12th inning of the Yankees’ eventual 4-3 victory, was not added to it Tuesday but he was not in the lineup for that night’s game against the Angels. Instead, Tyler Wade started in left and batted ninth.
“I think it’s just a precautionary thing because I re-emphasized multiple times that if I was in that lineup, I could play,” Frazier said of his afternoon conversation with manager Aaron Boone.
The Yankees, winners of four straight and six of their last seven going into Tuesday, started a three-city, nine-game trip Monday night. The are in a stretch of playing for 13 straight days, which Boone said more than anything else was the reason for keeping Frazier out of the lineup, Frazier and Boone stressed that the 24-year-old, who has emerged as the club’s biggest offensive threat in the midst of the injury onslaught, is not in danger of going on the IL
“I plan on him being a hot player tonight, he’s available and I would not hesitate to use him in any spot really,” Boone said. “It’s precaution and, again, being in the middle of 13 in a row and him getting nicked up last night, the temptation obviously was to just run him out there because I do feel like he’s good enough to play, but also think a day off here at some point probably made some sense.”
After Monday’s game. Frazier said his ankle was “sore,” and added: “it’s a little sprain,” before insisting he would be fine for Tuesday.
After arriving in the clubhouse on Tuesday Frazier said he felt significantly better.
“I can still feel some pain and soreness but the way I was able to [finish] the game last night is obviously a positive,” Frazier said. “Today I woke up feeling better than I did last night so that’s another positive.”
Frazier, played in only 69 games last season, 15 of which were in the majors, because of effects of a concussion he suffered running into a wall in the Yankees’ second Grapefruit League game.
He arrived in spring training this year motivated to put last season behind him, then proceeded to perform miserably, hitting .143 with a .473 OPS in 18 games before getting sent to minor league games the last week of camp.
In his first game after being sent down, Frazier found something and he carried it with him to the big leagues when he was recalled April 1 after Giancarlo Stanton went on the IL. Frazier came into Tuesday hitting .324 with a .975 OPS. He had hit six homers, tied for the team lead with Gary Sanchez, and a team-best 17 RBIs.
He was hitting .355 (11-for-31) with three homers, three doubles, one walk, five runs and seven RBI in his previous seven games.
Frazier is a team-best 8-for-17 (.471) with two homers, a double and 12 RBIs with runners in scoring position.
“He’s gotten a lot of big hits in some big spots,” Boone said. “He’s been huge for us. We’ve obviously needed guys to step up and there’s been a number who have and you’d probably put him at the top of the list.”