Frazier spares bug then swats homer

September 20th, 2020

Clint Frazier lost his favorite undershirt, rescued an injured insect and mashed a homer. For the Yankees’ big-swinging outfielder, it was all in a day’s work.

While returning to first base on a fourth-inning pickoff attempt in Saturday’s 8-0 win over the Red Sox, Frazier noticed a bug with a damaged wing struggling on the Fenway Park infield. He reached into his back right pocket and used an outfield-alignment card to ferry the critter to safety in foul territory.

“I was trying not to step on the bug every time I went back to first base,” Frazier said. “It was struggling. I just tried to get it out of the way; I didn’t want to be the one to put it out of its misery. It looked like it was in pain.”

Frazier said that he instructed first-base coach Reggie Willits not to step on the bug, then Frazier raced around the bases to score the Yankees’ third run of the evening, scoring on Kyle Higashioka’s RBI single.

One inning later, Frazier slugged a 91.5 mph Dylan Covey sinker over the right-field wall for his eighth home run of the season. Manager Aaron Boone gushed that Frazier’s blast was “a big boy home run,” especially considering it traveled out to the opposite-field on a cold evening.

“I guess you do a good deed and you get something positive as a result,” Frazier said.

Frazier was able to flex his muscles despite a pair of chilled forearms. About an hour before first pitch, Frazier spotted Brett Gardner wearing a mock turtleneck with the Yankees’ interlocking "NY" on the collar, which Frazier knew had come from his locker in Fenway’s visiting clubhouse.

“I could see him 60 yards from my locker, walking around in the turtleneck,” Frazier said. “I knew that I wasn’t going to get it back. I was trying to be a good sport about it, but I think we’re going to have to fight to get that turtleneck back.”

Gardner provided a more detailed version of events, saying that there had been two turtlenecks remaining in the storage locker at Yankee Stadium. Frazier was told that he could have one, so he asked Gardner to request another and hand it to Frazier, who wanted one that he could change into after batting practice.

“Being the good teammate that I am, I asked for that last turtleneck and gave it to Clint,” Gardner said. “I didn’t play [Friday] and I was freezing sitting around, and then it was very cold again today. That turtleneck will obviously keep you warm.”

Gardner reasoned that Frazier wouldn’t need his extra turtleneck on Saturday, since the Yankees did not take batting practice following Friday’s 12-inning contest. Unbeknownst to Gardner, Frazier accidentally left one of the shirts in his Yankee Stadium locker.

“We’re on a road trip to Boston and Buffalo with lows in the 40s and he only brought one turtleneck,” Gardner said. “I didn’t know that when I took the turtleneck out of his locker, but since he only brought one, I felt like the one that I wore today was mine and he left his at [Yankee] Stadium.”

Wardrobe tussles aside, Frazier’s growing maturity has been a consistent storyline during the Yankees’ season. His improvement on both sides of the ball has encouraged Boone to continue playing Frazier regularly, even with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton having been recently activated from the injured list.

“It feels good,” Frazier said. “It’s been a tough road to get into this situation to get a lot of consistent at-bats, but to finally be able to show off everything that I’m capable of is special for me. I’m thrilled to keep walking into the ballpark and seeing my name somewhere in that lineup.”