CHICAGO -- When White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier had a chance to talk to one of the all-time greats, he knew it was best that he listen up. He just wishes he would've brought something to record it.Frazier, then struggling in some of his early seasons as a pro
CHICAGO -- When White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier had a chance to talk to one of the all-time greats, he knew it was best that he listen up. He just wishes he would've brought something to record it.
Frazier, then struggling in some of his early seasons as a pro with the Reds, struck up a conversation with Cincinnati legend and all-time hit king Pete Rose -- a conversation that would last close to a half hour, Frazier said, breaking down Rose's preparation and keys to the game of baseball.
"There's a couple things that stuck out in my mind about what he said about hitting," Frazier said. "It's one of those things where you wish you could've played with him just to see the work and effort he went through just to be probably the best hitter in baseball."
Frazier has taken Rose's advice to heart, employing it during some of the rough stretches he's had in his career. Frazier said some of the lessons he learned as a young pro from Rose, along with former Reds All-Star Eric Davis, stuck with him as he got off to a rough start this year.
The 31-year-old, who is a free agent after this season and is a possible movable piece at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, put together the worst month of April in his career, slashing .183/.286/.417 with three homers and 10 RBIs. So Frazier went to work, utilizing some of the advice he's learned along the way.
"In baseball, and hitting in general -- and I remember talking to the great Eric Davis about this -- you're going to have to make changes along the way," Frazier said. "Maybe it's mental focus, maybe it's with two strikes choking up a little more, maybe it's not choking up. Pete Rose always told me you can move up in the box, move back, and it's just all that crazy stuff that goes into hitting."
While Frazier's average hasn't taken a significant leap in recent weeks, he said he's been tracking the ball better. Frazier has more than doubled his walk total this month, and he's starting to see his power pick up, with four homers in his last 13 games. It's an added comfort level that has made an impression on manager Rick Renteria as well.
"I think he's not diving as much into the zone," Renteria said. "I think he's trying to carry his weight on his back side a little bit better. He's slowing everything down, and that gives him a chance to keep his hands back and recognize pitches a little better. I think it's just something that you continue to work on and hope it will continue to propel him as the season progresses."
• Renteria said that both right-hander James Shields and reliever Jake Petricka will begin rehab assignments with Triple-A Charlotte this weekend. Shields threw a 45-pitch bullpen session that simulated three innings of work Monday and had a side session Wednesday. He will begin his rehab assignment Saturday for a right lat strain that has sidelined him since April 16. Petricka threw a side session Tuesday, and he will begin his rehab stint with Charlotte on Friday. He has made just one appearance this season -- on April 4 -- as he's also dealt with a right lat strain.
• Renteria said left-hander Carlos Rodon will get up between four and five times in a simulated game in Arizona on Thursday as he continues to recover from left biceps bursitis.
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.