Clint Frazier is a realist.
He understands how good the New York Yankees are. Especially the outfield.
Loaded with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks, there isn’t exactly a spot for Frazier right now. And he knows that.
“I’m not affected. I see how good the team is up there and I have to earn my spot up there,” Frazier said. “Sucked that I only got one game, but I tried to make the most of it and I’m trying to do the same with my time here. The more I take control of what I can take ownership in down here the better my results will be.”
So when he was sent back to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on May 20, after appearing in just one game during his five-day stay in the bigs, he could have looked at the demotion as a negative. It could have built up inside him and hurt him both at the plate and in the field, but Frazier wasn’t about to let that happen.
Ever since Frazier rejoined the RailRiders in time for the May 21 series opener in Pawtucket, RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell took notice of the outfielder’s attitude. His spirits were up despite such a short stay with the Yankees.
Playing with the RailRiders, he’s continued to work hard and make a push to rejoin the big-league club.
“His attitude’s been fantastic and his work habits have been really good, and he’s in a good spot,” Mitchell said. “His mind’s confident. We’ve been talking to him. You have to be positive. You have to stay positive.”
While Frazier admits he was in a funk when first got back to the RailRiders, going 3-for-14 in the initial four-game series against the Red Sox.
He was able to quickly bounce out of it. Frazier is batting .343 with four doubles, a triple, home run and three RBI since that May 24 series finale in Pawtucket.
Slotted in at the top of the RailRiders lineup, Frazier has been one of the team’s most potent hitters.
“I feel good,” Frazier said. “I hit that rough stretch in Pawtucket, but I think that was more just a product of having five or six days off the previous days. I think I just felt out of tune with my body, but this series all I worked on was just staying up the middle. There’s a lot of hits up there. I’m just trying to keep it simple and work my way back up to the big leagues.”
If there’s one thing that has stood out for Mitchell, it’s been Frazier’s confidence.
And it’s shown in both his play at the plate and in the outfield. Mitchell came away impressed when he bunted for a single in this past Monday’s loss to the Syracuse Chiefs. It was a game Frazier went 4-for-5 and had two stolen bases.
Even when he was in the field, playing center with Shane Robinson on the bench, he made an impressive catch to get his starting pitcher, Justus Sheffield, out of a first-inning jam.
“He’s seeing the ball well,” Mitchell said. “He’s using — like today, he bunted. We practiced bunting the other day and he wasn’t afraid to use it. And that’ good. You work on things and you see them apply it like that, it’s impressive. I think his confidence level’s good in all aspects of the game.
“He’s playing good defense. He made a good catch coming in on the ball to his right to get Sheff out of that inning — the first inning — which helped. He loves playing center field, for one, but he’s not going to play center field up there. Just, you know, when Robbie can’t play, he’s probably the guy to play there.”
And that confidence is what’s going to get Frazier back with the Yankees sooner rather than later.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle