The New York Yankees depleted outfield could be receiving some much-needed help in the form of Clint Frazier.
According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Clint Frazier played in a simulated game today and is getting close to playing in minor league games. His return to the New York Yankees is inching closer
Clint Frazier played in a sim game today in Tampa, Aaron Boone said. Next step will be Minor League games. “Things are finally starting to ramp up.” https://t.co/LngFhHybns
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) April 5, 2018
This is fantastic news. After a winter where all anybody could talk about is how the New York Yankees had way too many good outfielders, the team is running shockingly low on them. Just a week into the season, the team has already placed four outfielders on the DL.
Jacoby Ellsbury suffered an oblique injury at the end of Spring Training, and is now sidelined by a hip injury. Aaron Hicks suffered an intercostal strain in the first game of the year, increasing the fear among Yankee fans that he may be prone to core injuries. And rookie Billy McKinney suffered a shoulder injury after running into the left center field wall chasing down a gapper in Toronto.
Clint Frazier, however, suffered the worst of the injuries: a concussion after slamming into the wall while making a catch.
The Yankees need Frazier to be healthy, plain and simple. Ellsbury, even during the rare times that he is healthy, is no longer considered to be a real contributor and Hicks seems to be unusually prone to core injuries. Even Giancarlo Stanton has had trouble staying on the field in the past. Frazier and McKinney are the only major-league ready outfield prospects left in the farm system, making them essential parts of this team when injury strikes.
More important than his ability to fill in for injury, however, is that many believe Frazier to be the future in left field. Whether fans want to admit it or not, Brett Gardner is getting close to the end of his illustrious Yankee career. Stanton, although he has proven the ability to play the position, isn’t a permanent option to be Gardner’s replacement.
There are various other potential position fillers, such as Tyler Wade and, in a pinch, Brandon Drury or Tyler Austin. Frazier is the left fielder that the organization intends to use to replace Gardner. The organization loves his talent, particularly his bat-speed, his work ethic, and fans love his balls to the wall style of play.
With such a devastating injury, Frazier needs to take the time to make sure he is absolutely healthy. While the timeline for his return is still up in the air, making his way into live minor league games is a great sign that he’s finally starting to turn the corner on his recovery.
The Yankees have the pieces to temporarily deal with the injury problems they’ve suffered early, so Frazier can take his time returning to form. But when he does fully recover, Red Thunder will be fully unleashed.