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SportsColumnistsAnthony Rieber

Clint Frazier left behind in Triple-A as Yankees head to London

Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier looks for his pitch

Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier looks for his pitch against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on June 2. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Some big developments on Wednesday, the eve of the Yankees’ trip to London to play the Red Sox:

  • Giancarlo Stanton did not make the travel roster because of the knee injury he suffered sliding Tuesday night. Manager Aaron Boone said the injury was a sprained posterior collateral ligament. There is no timetable for Stanton’s return from the 10-day injured list, but bet the farm that it won’t be soon. 
  • Stanton’s bobblehead doll will make it to London, though. It features him wearing the long hat of a Buckingham Palace guard and is paired with a bobblehead of Aaron Judge towering over Big Ben. 
  • Clint Frazier, the obvious replacement for Stanton, is not going to London. The Yankees called up four of Frazier’s teammates from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the trip and left Frazier in Scranton, where he started in centerfield. If general manager Brian Cashman wanted to send a message about where Frazier stands at the moment with the organization, he couldn’t have been more clear.

Mike Tauchman replaces Stanton. Thairo Estrada, catcher Kyle Higashioka and pitcher Chance Adams also got the call. One of them will be the 26th man for Saturday's and Sunday’s games at London Stadium and the other two will be a taxi squad under the rules for the series.

Perhaps the Yankees think it’s better to showcase Frazier at Triple-A for a possible trade for a pitcher. But with Stanton out, Frazier is the most accomplished hitter from Scranton to play leftfield. He was hitting .283 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs with a .843 OPS in 53 games for the Yankees before he was sent down June 17.

Frazier has big-league offensive talent and a big-league attitude. He has had well-documented defensive problems. He took the full 72 hours to report to Scranton, which is his contractual right, but which is also a bad look for a 24-year-old who is not an established big-leaguer. We all have bosses, and they are watching.

Tauchman, who was sent down a few days later, reported immediately and was in the Scranton lineup the next game. Now, he’s getting a trip to London.

Oh, and the Yankees prepped for the trip by overcoming a 5-0, second-inning deficit and beating the Blue Jays, 8-7, on Gleyber Torres’ walkoff single in the ninth.

The Yankees finished a 9-1 homestand. Think they are feeling confident? Asked what he was thinking when they were down 5-0, Boone said: “Our game.”

Surely the Yankees would have been forgiven for taking a ho-hum loss. The first two MLB games in Europe were on a lot of minds.

They played The Clash’s “London Calling” and “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon on the PA. Still, there was a game to be played on this side of the pond. 

Sir Didi Gregorius, the only Yankee who is an actual Knight (in his home country of Curacao), started the comeback with a third-inning solo homer and the Yankees eventually went up 7-6. Zack Britton blew the save in the ninth, but Torres ended matters with a single to right-center in the bottom half.

“New York, New York” played on the loudspeakers as Torres got a postgame Gatorade bath from Aaron Judge. Then it was time to pack — “Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today,” as Frank Sinatra put it. 

Tommy Kahnle wore a Stars and Stripes bucket hat in the clubhouse, but otherwise the Yankees were low key, as they will be the next two days in London with no public appearances before the games. If they’re having tea with the Queen, they are keeping it under wraps.

Said Judge: “The fans are going to be in for quite a treat over there.” 

So are the Yankees. At least the ones who got to go.

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