Deivi Garcia, Clint Frazier
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Although the New York Yankees are falling on hard times with injuries, Deivi Garcia and Clint Frazier can help fill the voids.

Rich Mancuso

In baseball, teams can never have enough pitching. The New York Yankees know they need to find viable replacements in the rotation with the absence of Luis Severino, James Paxton, and Domingo German.

Right now, the only locks for the rotation are Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ. After that, it’s up in the air.

For Severino, it’s Tommy John surgery. A back issue with Paxton will keep him out until at least mid-May and that is on the optimistic side. Domingo German continues to fulfill a domestic violence suspension and won’t throw a pitch until mid-June.

But, general manager Brian Cashman always seems to find a way to fill those voids when injuries occur. So, down in Tampa, Friday, the process started. The Yankees gave 20-year old Deivi Garcia, their No. 3 prospect a look. And all went well.

Smile Yankees fans. It may not be all that bad.

The scouts have said, “The kid can throw hard and has great command.” There are only a couple of questions that surround Garcia. Is this kid ready for the big leagues? Can he withstand the pressure of handling a rotation spot in the Bronx?

Friday, against the Braves, Boone was optimistic about the rookie.

“Smart, really good aptitude, really good feel for making some adjustments on the mound and picking things up and being able to apply them,” he said.

Yes, this was another spring game. The only thing on the line is making an impression and vying for a spot in the rotation.

“The makeup about him is kind of off the charts,” Boone said. That sounded all good for Garcia, who earned this opportunity after a rapid progression all the way up to Triple-A Scranton last season.

When it comes to trade talks, Garcia has been untouchable, much like his breaking ball and high-spin fastball that impressed Friday. He walked one and struck out three over two innings against the Braves.

But it is early in the game. Boone would not commit to anything after this first outing. The options to fill the voids are all getting a look. Jordan Montgomery, rookie Michael King, and Jonathan Loaisiga with his 31.2 innings pitched, 4.55 ERA last year, all have a chance to make the rotation.

And it’s a good thing this is happening now. Not in July, August, or September.

Clint Frazier’s time to shine

Of course, the Yankees have to make decisions with their outfield situation because at no time soon will Giancarlo Stanton be on the field. The grade one calf strain, nothing new for Stanton, opens a hole in what was thought to be a crowded outfield.

So here we go again with Clint Frazier, once again seeking an outfield spot on the Yankees roster. He came to camp with the goal to head north in four weeks.

And if he is a part of the Opening Day roster, there is every intention of giving Frazier playing time.

But, time may be running out for the 25-year old. Though relatively young, he has never reached his full potential. Rumors of offseason trade talks the past two years, Frazier is still wearing pinstripes.

A fifth-round selection in the 2013 MLB Draft and highly touted, he has never lived up to the potential for any number of reasons.

The ability has been there. Frazier is a run producer with power and speed. His defining flaw comes in the form of defensive lapses at times in the outfield, attributed he says, to mental mistakes.

But with that influx of outfielders on the Yankees 40-man roster, there is no room for mental mistakes.

A concussion protocol did limit his playing time in 2018. Frazier, though as baseball people say, is a ballplayer and the Yankees have to make a decision about that roster spot.

Will Yankees pull the plug with a trade if there is no opportunity in the Bronx? Frazier needs that opportunity to play every day in the majors. The Yankees may not be the answer.

“He’s had some bumps along the way, but I’ve never questioned how hard he’s worked at things,” said Boone. “I will say there has been a real level of focus and enthusiasm. Early on, he’s getting good results out of it.”

Thursday afternoon, Frazier, in his first at-bat hit a home run. That paved the way for the Yankees in their 7-1 spring game win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

The home run showed his power and the bat speed that was never an issue. It impressed his manager.

Of course, with more playing time this spring, Stanton out of the outfield equation, Aaron Hicks recovering from Tommy John surgery, more power from the right side will make the answer easier for Aaron Boone.

“I still have to finish the camp healthy,” Frazier said. “I still have to go out there and perform and ultimately show them I  might be able to play the position the way they want me to if called upon.”

However, consistency has to be the key.  Frazier has never denied that was the issue. He wants to play, stay healthy, and be consistent.