Frazier savors flavor of 1st game in pinstripes

With Toms River throngs on hand, and facing Reds, Yanks 3B greets fans, grounds into triple play, singles

July 25th, 2017

NEW YORK -- Hundreds of people from his hometown of Toms River, N.J., made the trip to greet newly acquired third baseman on Tuesday as he played his first home game as a member of the Yankees, who opened a two-game series against the team that drafted him.

Buses provided transportation for fans making the two-hour trip from Toms River to the Bronx to see their hometown favorite don the pinstripes for the first time against the Reds in an Interleague matchup.

"I heard through the grapevine there were 500-600 coming," Frazier said before the game. "The most significant, I've got a couple of Little League coaches coming. To have my family there is most significant to cheer me on."

Frazier's first at-bat was certainly memorable, as he grounded into a triple play with the bases loaded, while a run scored to give the Yankees a one-run lead in the second inning en route to a 4-2 win.

"That's got to be a record," Frazier said of the triple play. "It's funny to laugh about it now, but at the time I was a little upset."

He added: "It was great, a great experience all the way around, from start to finish. We got the W."

Cut4: Reds greet old friend Frazier with triple play

Frazier said he was most nervous about how he'd handle the Yankee Stadium roll call heading into the contest. He gave the Bleacher Creatures a signature Shooter McGavin finger gun, then went back to business. He had only a few seconds to let the moment sink in, though, as hit a sharp grounder his way for out No. 1.

He went 1-for-2 with a walk, collecting his first hit in pinstripes on a single off Reds starter in the fifth inning.

Frazier has had Toms River behind him since his local team won the Little League World Series in 1998, when he was 12 years old. That year, he famously posed with Derek Jeter at shortstop before a game in the old Yankee Stadium.

When asked what he would say in 1998, had he known he would one day be playing for the team he grew up watching, Frazier said he probably wouldn't be able to stop talking about it.

"He'd probably tell all his friends every minute he had," said Frazier of himself at age 12. "He'd probably tell the schoolteacher when he got back to school. I'd probably try and write a story about it, a 12-year-old trying to write a story so I could keep it forever."

The 31-year-old said he's looking for a place to live that's a bit closer to the Stadium, but for now, he's living at home in Toms River. So for the time being, Frazier will be driving about two hours before every home game, and that's not including the inevitable New York City traffic.

"I'll be stuck in traffic and yelling at my steering wheel the whole time," Frazier said. "But hopefully [it will be] after a win so it won't be that bad."

Everything's much sweeter after a victory, and winning, after all, is the reason why Frazier is back in the Tri-State Area in the first place. The Yankees needed a more potent bat at a corner infield position, and Frazier was a solid fit. They received Frazier from the White Sox last week in a blockbuster trade that also brought relief pitchers and Tommy Kahnle to the Bronx.

"It's a power bat," manager Joe Girardi said of Frazier. "It's a guy that's used to hitting in the middle of the order who's been very productive in his career."

Tuesday was the first time Frazier played against the Reds, the team for which he played his first five Major League seasons. He was an All-Star in both 2014 and '15, which were his final two years in Cincinnati before joining the White Sox.

"It's a great opportunity for Todd to be back in New York, closer to home and to be on a team pushing for a playoff spot," said Reds manager , who managed Frazier in 2014-15.

"There's no negatives that I see for Todd," Price added. "He loves those opportunities. He's kind of a prime-time guy. I think being on a winning club with some prime-time opportunities, he'll thrive in that situation."