MOOSIC — Clint Frazier has been better. But he’s feeling better, too.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre outfielder walked into the RailRiders clubhouse for the first time since he was originally placed on the disabled list with what has been described to him as “post-concussion migraines” and not another concussion.
Even though Frazier was set to take swings in the cage and do bike work on Wednesday — less than a week since he was originally been placed on the seven-day disabled list — this latest setback has been a microcosm of the up-and-downs of his 2018 campaign.
“I feel better. Much better than I did the last two weeks,” Frazier said. “I’m just hoping that it continues to go that direction — it’s frustrating whenever it doesn’t. To know I feel good right now is better because it eases my mind more.
“It’s been a tough year, you know? I mean, I worked really hard in the offseason and spring training was kind of derailed by a fluke incident, and then it took a couple months to get out of it,” he added. “Obviously going up and down has been tough, but I’ve performed well enough to ease my mind whenever I get sent down. So I know at some point I’ll be up there full-time with the team in the big leagues, but I have to earn my stripes, like I keep saying. It’s frustrating to be back in this situation, but it’s an uplifting feeling to not have another concussion.”
The 23-year-old’s collision at third base with Jace Peterson in Baltimore on July 15 and his dive in Columbus on Thursday were both scares, but Frazier has since learned that his post-concussion migraines, which have included both migraines and fogginess at times, have actually been a culmination of “wear and tear” throughout the season.
The dive specifically only heightened his symptoms in the immediate aftermath of the play. He told the trainer at the end of his concussion protocol that he felt like he did before the game started.
“I guess getting hit on the bases and then having some inflammation in my shoulder from whenever I fell on it earlier this year on it — I guess it’s just been a constant build-up to this part of the season I’m in right now,” Frazier said. “I guess (migraines and fogginess) go hand in hand whenever they’re both flaring up at the same time.
“But for me, they think that it’s caused by a lot of tension and maybe some trigger points and knots in my shoulder that might restrict blood flow or just be causing extra tension in my neck area.”
Even though he’s an optimistic person, Frazier has had his fair share of lows this season. Especially when it concerns the concussion he suffered during spring training and the migraines he’s been dealing with this time around.
Dealing with a brain injury means his recovery has often been a waiting game, which is what he has to do now. Despite doing some baseball activities on Wednesday, he still had to wait and see how he was feeling after the workout before making a decision regarding the next step.
It also doesn’t help that Frazier has stumbled upon some negative comments on social media. Frazier prefers Twitter over Instagram, and it isn’t that hard to find tweets from fans pleading for the Yankees to trade the outfielder.
But at the end of the day, Frazier is putting his health before everything else. And once he’s cleared, he’s ready to help out the RailRiders. And ultimately the Yankees.
“I have my moments,” Frazier said. “I cried a little whenever I got taken out of the game because it’s a helpless feeling. It’s something that I can’t help, you know? It doesn’t help when people make jokes about it on social media, when people say stuff like that. Obviously I can’t escape everything that people say, but this is a brain injury, not an ankle. It’s just something — it’s a helpless feeling knowing that a lot of people can tell you a lot about the injury but not cure it right away.
“Knowing that time is one of the thing that helps it and my time is running out for how much is left in this season is frustrating. So I’m putting my health first. I don’t want to add a second concussion to my resume, a couple months apart from each other. I just have to continue to put my health first because that’s what’s most important right now.”
RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell was excited to see Frazier back in the clubhouse Wednesday.
And when Frazier’s healthy, Mitchell has an idea of where he’s going to slot the outfielder back into the lineup.
“Yeah, I saw him on the bike. Hopefully he’s back soon,” Mitchell said. “We add him, we add (Tyler) Wade, whenever he gets here, we’ll get better. I’ve always been looking for a lead-off guy since they left.”
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle