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Yankees get Frazier back; 'I was really bored'

Outfielder returns two weeks after injuring ankle on slide at 2nd base
@BryanHoch
May 6, 2019

NEW YORK -- Clint Frazier assumed the role of defense attorney behind closed doors on the Yankees' recent road trip, attempting to avoid a stint on the injured list by promising manager Aaron Boone that his taped-up left ankle would allow him to take the field that night. Then Boone

NEW YORK -- Clint Frazier assumed the role of defense attorney behind closed doors on the Yankees' recent road trip, attempting to avoid a stint on the injured list by promising manager Aaron Boone that his taped-up left ankle would allow him to take the field that night.

Then Boone presented Frazier with the results of an MRI taken earlier that day, which revealed a Grade 2 sprain and two partially torn ligaments. Frazier grudgingly withdrew his case, instead vowing to rejoin the active roster as soon as possible.

That return came on Monday, just two weeks after Frazier injured his ankle on an awkward slide in Anaheim, scrambling back to second base on a pick-off attempt.

"I was really bored," Frazier said. "I wanted to play -- a lot. With the opportunity that we have and the guys that are down, I wanted to play more than I ever have. I'm just glad it was a short stint on the IL. I think, in the end, it was a smart idea -- but obviously a tough one to go through at the beginning of it."

The Yankees optioned left-hander Stephen Tarpley to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Sunday's rain-shortened 4-1 victory over the Twins.

Frazier said the soreness and swelling that he experienced in the ankle has dissipated, and that a single Minor League rehab game with Double-A Trenton on Saturday should be enough to allow him to face big league pitching. He was to serve as Trenton's DH on Sunday, but its game in Harrisburg, Pa., was rained out.

"He's been a very good player for us this year," Boone said. "He's a guy we feel like is going to get back in there and help us win ballgames. The fact that he is back and in there is just another example of us building a little bit, starting to getting guys back. Getting him back in the fold should help."

The 24-year-old Frazier was one of the Yankees' most productive hitters at the time of his injury, hitting .355 (11-for-31) with five runs, three doubles, three homers and seven RBIs in his last seven games before landing on the injured list.

"I'm getting a legitimate chance every day," Frazier said. "That makes me feel more like I'm a part of this team, more than just the 26th man like last year. A lot of the guys have embraced me really well and let me come up here and be myself, which is what's given me the best chance to go out there and be successful every day."

Comeback trail
Dellin Betances' big league career has included four All-Star selections and nine postseason appearances, yet as the reliever attempts to return from a right shoulder impingement that sent him to the injured list in March, he acknowledged feeling "nervous" before walking to the Yankee Stadium outfield on Monday afternoon.

Then Betances began to air his arm out, making 25 tosses at a distance of 60 feet, and was thrilled to feel no discomfort. Betances is not expected to return to the bullpen until June, but after taking three weeks off from throwing, he considered Monday's activity to be "a good first step."

"Any time you feel different and you've rested for three weeks, you don't know how you're going to feel," said Betances, who is scheduled to toss again on Wednesday. "I was real encouraged. It's a little slow at the beginning, but once we feel good in different areas, we'll pick it up."

A-O-Kahnle
Tommy Kahnle has not allowed a hit or run in a franchise-record 11 relief appearances entering play on Monday, having struck out the only batter he faced on Sunday. Kahnle shattered a previous mark of 10 such appearances, shared by Paul Assenmacher (1993), Betances (2018), Kyle Farnsworth (2008), Boone Logan (2010) and Edwar Ramirez (2008).

"He just looks really on-line," Boone said. "His stuff's been there pretty much every outing. The changeup is a huge pitch for him; the ability to throw that at any time, as well as doing a really good job of elevating his fastball. He's been a real weapon for us, especially against left-handed hitters with that changeup."

This date in Yankees history
May 6, 2018: Gleyber Torres became the youngest Yankee to hit a walk-off home run, slugging a three-run homer in the ninth inning to lift his club to a 7-4 victory over the Indians. Torres was 21 years and 144 days old when he connected with that Dan Otero slider.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.