Clint Frazier Credits Quarantine Layoff for Defensive Improvements in 2020

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“I had a good spring offensively, but the biggest thing was I got a really long layoff with quarantine, and it gave me time to refine parts of my game I wanted to work on. It felt like a really long offseason, and I came into Summer Camp ready to work. I felt refreshed, and I spent a lot of time working on my defense, because I didn’t want that to be a part of my game people continued to talk about.”

Clint Frazier’s offensive prowess was never in doubt, but defense was, indeed, the most maligned portion of his game. Until this year, that is, as the above quote came during Frazier’s appearance on WFAN’s Moose and Maggie Show on Thursday, his answer when asked if he could pinpoint an exact moment where his two-way game became strong.

Entering Thursday’s series finale with Toronto, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are back (at least one every other game, anyway), and Frazier could find himself the odd man out of the outfield mix. He hasn’t yet, though, and seemingly won’t, as he’s now an everyday outfielder (alignment dependent on who else is out there).

Even if he’s not in every game all game, though, Clint is okay with that – another sign of the burgeoning maturity that was also perhaps perceived as an issue with Frazier in the past.

“Tauchman, Gardy, Hicks – all of those guys are really good outfielders, and I had a pretty poor year last year, so I’m still trying to win people over and prove I’m not a fluke,” Frazier said, “but my goal is to help this team win. Whatever it takes for that, so be it.”

Of course, he did throw a little signature Frazier snark in there, albeit laughing along with Moose and Maggie as he did.

“I have noticed that if I put a couple runs on the board, I get to stay in there longer, so that’s the goal!”

Of course, one other source of past consternation was Frazier’s hair, which now definitely conforms to Yankees guidelines. So, too, does Kyle Higashioka’s, although a mention of how Higgy’s haircut has led him to an offensive outburst brought out an admission of one tendency from an admittedly less-than-superstitious Frazier.

“Higgy talked a lot about cutting his hair, and I laughed and said it wasn’t the hair – I guess I should keep my mouth shut there!” Frazier laughed. “I’m not very superstitious myself, but I will continue to chew the same flavor of Dubble Bubble gum during a game; I start with grape, and if it works early on, I keep it, and if not, I might switch flavors.”

It’s been a grape week for Frazier, who enters Friday on a four-game hit streak, the last three all being multi-hit games – a trend that may continue, as long as the commissary restocks the gum buckets.

“Yesterday, we had like four flavored pieces of gum in the bucket, and I took all four and put them in my pocket,” he laughed. “The rest were original, which aren’t my favorite, so I stole all four (flavored). It worked early, so I don’t regret that one!”

Nor does he regret the path the Yankees took to get where they are with 11 games remaining, as the adversity they faced over a 20-game, 5-15 stretch midseason has only forged them stronger.

“I think guys were getting discouraged. Individually some of us weren’t playing as well as we know we can, and as a team, we lost a couple games late that we knew we could’ve won,” Frazier said. “We came into this year hearing that the backups are good enough to start on most teams, and we needed to show that. We went through a tough stretch, but we have some big threats back in our lineup, and it’s a good time to show what we are.”

Frazier also discussed several other things, including the struggles and seasons of teammates like Miguel Andujar and Gary Sanchez and Brian Cashman’s address to the team in Buffalo, in his quick hit with Moose & Maggie, but before you listen to the whole segment, keep this quote in mind, Clint’s answer when Moose asked him if the Yankees are once again the team to beat in the AL:

“I think so – we hibernated for a little bit, and now we’re back! It’s fun to be a Yankee right now, because we’re finishing strong at the right time.”

Listen to Frazier’s entire segment below, and, as always, check out more on-demand audio from Moose & Maggie, or tune in every day to the WFAN.com or Twitch.TV/WFAN livestreams of the show!

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