It seems as if every ball hit toward Clint Frazier has become a hold-your-breath moment.
The 24-year-old outfielder has been working overtime before the Yankees' games to try to fix his defensive issues. But the extra effort isn’t helping. The mistakes continue to pile up.
Aaron Boone often pulls him for a defensive replacement in the late innings, but Frazier was out in rightfield in the seventh with the Yankees down by a run against the Red Sox on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium. His latest nightmare was about to unfold in front of 40,068 fans.
Frazier misplayed a single, committing a run-scoring error. Then a dive for a ball didn’t work out well. Then he messed up on another hit in the eighth, turning it into an RBI triple. He was booed when he came up for his last two at-bats, and Boston emerged with an 8-5 win.
So what did Frazier have to say about it?
Nothing. After a lengthy wait by the media, a Yankees spokesman said Frazier wasn’t going to talk.
The Yankees are still waiting for Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton to return from the injured list and become available for outfield duty. So what do they do about Frazier in the interim? He went 2-for-4 and is batting .272 with a career-high 10 homers and 28 RBIs, but he has three official errors and several other misplays.
“Just maybe pressing a little bit out there,” Boone said. “He’s working his tail off. He’s making strides out there. But obviously there’s been some mistakes along the way, too. That’s part of continuing to develop as a young player. That’s an area of his game that isn’t as far along as necessarily his offensive game …
“He’s got the athleticism and the tools to be really good out there. We’ve just got to keep getting after it with him and champion the small success.”
With the Red Sox leading 3-2 in the seventh, one out and Michael Chavis on first, Eduardo Nunez lined a hard single to right. When the ball got past Frazier and rolled all the way to the wall, Chavis scored and Nunez raced to third on Frazier's error. Brock Holt followed with an RBI single to right.
Andrew Benintendi then lined a two-out single to right. With the option of playing it on a hop or trying to make a diving catch, Frazier opted for the latter, but the ball bounced in front of him and ricocheted off his glove. Holt scored from first, and it was 6-2.
With the score 7-2 in the eighth, one out and a man on second, Chavis sliced a looper down the rightfield line. Frazier couldn't get to it and the ball spun by him. No error was charged, but an RBI single became an RBI triple.
“You’ve got to stay positive,” Luke Voit said. “The guys have got his back. Everyone’s going to make those mistakes. … It’s part of the game. The hard part is obviously you’re playing here. The fans want you to play mistake-free baseball.”