For one glorious moment Sunday afternoon, Clint Frazier put his defensive troubles aside and provided a silver lining to an overall rough Yankees day at the office.
Such a moment hasn’t occurred yet for the other side of the left fielder’s game, although Frazier professed confidence that it will soon.
In the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 7-3 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field, Frazier laid out fully to snare Jor dan Luplow’s line drive in the air. It served as quite a “SportsCenter” worthy clip for the 26-year-old, who became a finalist for the 2020 Gold Glove Award yet started this season as poorly with the glove (three outs below average through Saturday) as was with the bat (he’s now at .146/.309/.188).
“It was a cool catch,” Frazier said after the game. “Luplow put a good swing on a good pitch, but the good thing was it was a ball that was lofted in the air, so it gave me time to kind of run after it. I saw it pretty well, and I’m just glad I was able to hold the ball in my glove because it almost came out as I hit the ground.”
Frazier entered this game as a pinch hitter for Brett Gardner in the sixth inning and drew a walk against Cleveland’s righty reliever Cal Quantrill. In the ninth, he grounded out to second base. He has started 15 of the Yankees’ 21 games, and while he said, “I just want to get back in that lineup,” he gave his manager Aaron Boone no public grief for not deploying him more often.
“Obviously it’s not fun to not play,” Frazier said. “But if I were to sit back and say that I deserved to be in there based off the stuff that I’ve been doing at the plate, then I’d be wrong. I think it’s justified. I haven’t given any production out there in left. And if one person can’t, then the next person gets the opportunity. That’s how I got to the situation that I’m in right now.”
To get out of that, Frazier said, he has worked on his timing, on finding one of his “500 different batting stances” that works for him, and he pointed to his frequent walks (six in his last five games) as well as his past success in Baltimore (.326/.367/.804, with seven homers in 13 games), where the Yankees begin a series Monday night, as signs of encouragement.
“I have, in my opinion, one of the fastest bats in baseball, and I’m not using it in the way that everybody knows I can,” Frazier said. “I’m trying to unlock that bat speed again.”
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