Clint Frazier’s bat was living up to the hype. His production was proving essential for the injury-riddled Yankees. Finally, his time had come — until it hadn’t.
He turned his left ankle trying to get back to second base in a win over the Angels on April 22, and was placed on the injured list three days later after an MRI revealed a Grade 2 sprain and two partially torn ligaments. The time away was challenging, even more so because of the chance he was missing out on with so many key Yankees on the IL.
“I was really bored,” he said before going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts during the Yankees’ 7-3 win over the Mariners at Yankee Stadium. “I want to play a lot, and obviously with the opportunity we have and guys that are down, I wanted to play more than I ever have.”
He’ll get his chance for the foreseeable future with Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton still on the IL.
Frazier was performing well at the time of his injury, slashing .324/.342/.632 with a .974 OPS, six home runs and 17 RBIs, far better numbers than he produced in short samples the previous two years. He hit safely in six of seven games, and was a key cog in the Yankees keeping their heads above water despite the All-Star team that was on the IL.
Just as importantly, Frazier said his ankle feels 100 percent.
“Nothing’s lingering,” he said. “I’ve been good here for a while now, so I’m ready to go.”
At the time, Frazier, 24, lobbied with team higher-ups to stay on the active roster. He was needed and was excelling for the first time in his brief big-league career. But in hindsight, the young outfielder now knows the right decision was made. He could have missed more time, rather than rejoining the team on Monday feeling pain-free and ready to pick up where he left off.
“It was frustrating, but in the end it was right thing to do, because of how fragile my ankle was at the time,” he said. “It could’ve led to a much longer IL stint that the one I went through.”
Now that he’s back, joining the likes of Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit in the batting order, the Yankees’ lineup is starting to look more Yankee-like.
“Well, obviously, he’s been a very good player for us this year, so to get him back in the fold, as well as he was playing for us, as a good as a player we think he is, he’s a guy we feel like is going to get back in there and help us win ballgames,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I was really impressed with him last year. He shows right away what a talented hitter he is, be it as a young guy with all that bat speed and the talent he possesses. He’s very much under control up there.
“You hear me talk a lot about controlling the strike zone, and that’s something he does very well, especially for a young player and something that has served him well this season. He gets into favorable counts because he doesn’t chase a lot.”