The job was his. Brett Gardner was back, but mostly to mentor. Competition? Never heard of her.
Instead, three weeks later, Frazier hasn’t faced a challenger for playing time, per se, but he’s still been challenged internally, his body failing him at the worst possible moment.
The numbers are woeful for one of the Bombers’ most electric power bats (.149 without a homer), but the attitude hasn’t followed. Frazier still believes in himself, and isn’t at all confused about where his playing time has gone.
In the past, benching Frazier for Gardner was a call to action for Yankees Twitter to bemoan another missed opportunity or development gone wrong for a budding star.
But as this month has gone on, most of the benchings have been … justified, a fact that has not escaped Frazier himself.
Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier understands why he’s being benched.
As Frazier told reporters on Sunday following the team’s 7-3 series finale loss (luckily they won the other three):
"“It’s not fun to not play but if I were to sit back and say that I deserve to be in there every single day based off what 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, the next person gets the opportunity.”"
Unfortunately for Frazier and the Yankees, the “next person” hasn’t helped much, either. Gardner is in a 1-for-19 slump with the same amount of total hits on the year as Frazier, and Mike Tauchman is hitting .214 in 14 scattered at-bats of very little consequence.
Frazier doesn’t appear to have let his offensive struggles throw him entirely off-kilter, as he’s stayed patient in recent days and also turned in the likely Catch of the Year late in Sunday’s game.
We’re still confident it will come around for Frazier, though it’s difficult to predict when everything will click. The man himself apparently has no idea which one of 500 different stances will be the one to get him going, which is slightly concerning, but he’s not discouraged by his lack of progress.
"“I’m a feel guy. The stuff that I was doing was not working. It was time for me to go back and look at the archives and see what I could do to get in my legs better and be able to get down on time. For me to be able to swing, the little hitch that I have in my swing, if it fires a little bit late then I have trouble connecting on pitches that I would normally have.”"
The team’s feel has improved significantly in recent days. We can only hope Frazier’s is soon to follow.