The wait for Clint Frazier appears set to continue.
All signs pointed to Frazier getting ample time in the outfield early in the regular season, with Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton all dealing with injuries during spring training.
Then came the shutdown in March due to the coronavirus, and now that the reset of Opening Day is approaching, all those outfielders are expected to be ready to play.
“It’s frustrating on the level that I knew my playing time was gonna be limited the longer the layoff went on,’’ Frazier said Sunday. “But obviously those guys play a really big part on our team. I want to play, but I don’t want it to be at the expense of somebody being injured and me playing because of that. I want to earn it.”
And that will be all but impossible if Judge, Hicks and Brett Gardner are healthy.
Frazier will be 26 in September and it’s been nearly four years since he came over in the trade that sent Andrew Miller to the Indians. He’s been sidelined by concussions and other injuries and was hoping to have more of an impact in 2020.
“It’s a big year in the sense of I felt like I had a good chance in spring training to perform the way I did last year,’’ Frazier said. “I have a lot of … goals I want to accomplish, and obviously in 60 games, it’s hard to do that. It was a big moment for me in spring for me to possibly have a spot — and it’s taken away, possibly. Not possibly, it is.’’
With teams allowed to keep 30 players on the roster for the first two weeks of the season, Frazier could still get his chance, although he’s been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
He served as a DH in Sunday’s simulated game, and manager Aaron Boone said he may return to the outfield as soon as Tuesday.
Frazier has also been making changes to his body.
He entered camp heavier than he has in the past and said he continued to put on weight during spring training, eventually becoming “15-20 pounds” heavier than a year ago.
Frazier said he was told the added weight may have caused the injured foot and that it’s improved since he’s lost most of the weight he’d initially put on.
“I was trying to gain weight and ultimately I don’t think my body could handle it because the second spring ended, I started losing weight,’’ Frazier said.
He had initially believed the bulk would benefit his game, but then had second thoughts.
“I felt like I was able to swing a little bit harder,’’ Frazier said. “I felt I had more weight behind the ball and was hitting it a little harder, but I did feel in some areas it hindered me. I wasn’t as fast, I felt like, in spring. It made it harder for me to throw the way I was used to throwing.”
Since he dropped the weight, he says he’s “symptom-free.”
Boone said he understands why Frazier might have been looking to get stronger, pointing to Bryson DeChambeau, the 26-year-old who has taken the PGA Tour by storm since adding 40 pounds of muscle.
“A lot of people questioned it, but it seems to be working,’’ Boone said of DeChambeau’s physical transformation. “I have a lot of faith in our strength and conditioning program. With Clint, we’ll see what the right number is for him, but I feel like both [the weight gain and loss] was coming from a place of work.”
Which is why Boone is confident Frazier is ready to contribute, both physically and mentally.
“He continues to mature as a person and a pro,’’ the manager said. “I never had an issue with his work ethic, but I feel like his work continued to get better and stronger and smarter in every aspect.”
And that includes his work in the outfield, which has been an issue.
“It’s not like we’re taking a guy who’s not a good athlete and have these expectations,’’ Boone said. “This is a guy that has a chance to be really good because of his ability.’’
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article