TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Clint Frazier showed no hesitation chasing down a fly ball on the warning track and hit batting practice drives well over the left-field fence on Wednesday, appearing to have recovered from the concussion that decimated his 2018 season.
“It’s an exciting feeling,” the 24-year-old New York Yankees outfielder said Wednesday after his first pre-spring training workout. “I’m ready to get out there. I wish games started tomorrow. It’s been a long road. I’m just happy to be here and ready to go out there and make up for the time that I’ve lost.”
A week ahead of spring training, Frazier was joined by Greg Bird, Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres at the Yankees minor league complex. Frazier found his groove during his second round and ended up homering eight times in 35 swings.
Acquired from Cleveland on July 31, 2016, in the deal that sent reliever Andrew Miller to the Indians, Frazier got hurt making a leaping catch at the fence during a spring training game at Bradenton, Florida, against Pittsburgh last Feb. 24. Concussion symptoms lingered, and Frazier was limited to 15 major league games last year and 54 in the minors.
“I feel a difference in my quality of life, just the happiness whenever I wake up that I’m finally through the hard times that I was going through then,” Frazier said. “Now it’s just like, I feel like a new person on the field. You appreciate the things that are very simple tasks in life that get taken away from you whenever something happens.”
Frazier is looking to win a roster spot in a crowded outfield that includes right fielder Aaron Judge, center fielder Aaron Hicks, left fielder Brett Gardner and DH/corner outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
“I think I’ve got to go out there and prove to the guys that I’m healthy,” Frazier said. “I think this is the best chance I’ve had since my pro career started. I’m ready to go out there and start the season.”
Jacoby Ellsbury, who missed all of last season with several injuries, including a bad hip that required surgery, remains on the roster.
Other big leaguers that have taken part in the early workouts include James Paxton, Luis Severino, Luis Cessa and Gary Sanchez, who is doing most of his work indoors as he builds up after shoulder surgery.
In addition, about 100 minor leaguers are taking part in an early camp.
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