Clint Frazier On WFAN: It's Going To Be A Big Year For Me

Yankees Outfielder Opens Up About Concussion Struggles

Joe & Evan
February 26, 2020 - 7:40 pm
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Most athletes face little difficulty in overcoming a physical setback following an injury. The psychological barrier is often the massive roadblock that stands in the way, as is the case with Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier. 

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In 2018, Frazier suffered a mild concussion during spring training. The injury was the first of a series of prolonged setbacks he would endure over the next year. He appeared in 18 games and dealt with post-concussion symptoms, missing the final three months of the 2018 season. Last January, Frazier posted the optimistic prognosis that he was cleared for spring training. 

Frazier, over a year removed from the post, joined WFAN's Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts to detail his journey back to the baseball field

"I'd be lying if I said the concussion stuff didn't bother me still," Frazier said. "I didn't pick up a glove — the first time I picked up a glove was in spring training. That's what a lot of people didn't realize. I basically missed a full year of baseball and when you go through a head injury, you do worry about the stuff that comes with it. I wasn't feeling too bad at times last year. Obviously there were moments where I thought, 'hey, am I really feeling this or am I actually feeling this' and that's the hard part. But the ultimate goal was just to catch the ball and that's what I tried to do this offseason and work on things."

Yankees manager Aaron Boone often pulled Frazier from games last season citing defensive woes. Last June, Frazier suffered arguably his worst night in right field. He allowed an errant ball to pass him, costing a run. The redheaded outfielder also misplayed a handful of fly balls and line-drive opportunities. 

"It was a hard process last year, failing in front of 50,000 fans and the millions that are watching behind the scenes," Frazier said. "When you're trying to get over something that's so much in the public eye, it makes it that much harder because I feel like my defense was worth watching for all of the wrong reasons and I knew when I ran out to right field people didn't want to see me out there, they wanted to see Judge. They've had the Judge's Chambers right behind them. ... They wanted who everyone wants in right (field) and I paid the price. I wasn't prepared I guess. I sank and I think this year I'm ready to swim."

Frazier appeared in 69 games last season, the most he's played in since he was traded to New York in 2016. He still found it difficult to find playing time, often passed over by other outfielders on the depth chart throughout the year.

Yankees right fielder Clint Frazier chases a ball hit by the Red Sox's Michael Chavis that went for an RBI triple during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium.
Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

When he was demoted to Triple-A last season, Frazier said it was "a tough pill to swallow" despite his on-field success. Roberts asked, "What is your sense for where you stand in the organization?"

"I really had to search myself or search my heart," Frazier said. "and find out whether I was letting some of the stories the media were writing make me think that the Yankees didn't like me or my own interactions with them. I've never had any bad interactions with anyone in the organization. They've always been good to me and obviously we have the guys that are in front of me and that's the reason I haven't played ultimately.

"I don't think there's any bad blood," Frazier said.  Maybe I've annoyed them at times but for the most part I think they want to see me succeed here and if I do it's going to be a sweet moment because of the trade they swung in 2016 paying off because it's technically only me and Ben Heller here left. It's going to be a big year for me. I'm trying to do things the right way and be quiet about it."

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