Yankees fans are still waiting for Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton to recover from injury, but Clint Frazier’s return to the lineup will be massive.
Clint Frazier isn’t the biggest Yankees star to suffer an injury this season, but he might be the guy who was playing the best when he went on the shelf. Fortunately for manager Aaron Boone, the guy a lot of fans refer to as “Big Red” is ready to make his return.
The 24-year-old outfielder was reinstated off of the IL on Monday. Frazier will take reliever Stephen Tarpley’s spot on the roster in the short-term. The original plan was to give him one rehab game in the minors on Sunday, but when rain cancelled his scheduled appearance the Yankees elected to go ahead and bring him back to the Bronx.
When Frazier makes his return to the staring lineup, it’s going to give the middle of the Yankees order a major shot in the arm. He was playing terrific baseball until his sprained ankle forced him to miss time. Frazier’s .324 batting average with six home runs and 17 RBIs was a big part of the team’s ability to cope with the myriad of injures they’ve faced this season.
Perhaps more importantly, his return to the team should allow Boone to minimize Mike Tauchman’s playing time. The left-handed outfielder slugged a big home run against the Twins on Sunday, but he’s really struggled at the plate for the better part of the season. It’s difficult for the Yankees to trot out an everyday corner outfielder who’s only hitting .176 with an OBP of .282. For all of Tauchman’s defensive abilities, having a guy who is scuffling so mightily at the plate has really weighed down the Yankees offense as of late.
Even if Frazier can’t keep up the level of hitting he showed earlier in the season, he’s a solid bet to provide the Yankees a significant upgrade over Tauchman at the plate. That’s going to be a serious step in the right direction for an offense that’s struggled to score runs at various times over the past few weeks.
Frazier’s return isn’t going to excite Yankees fans like Judge or Stanton coming back into the fold, but he’s a really important piece for Boone to get back into the lineup. It would be a mistake to underestimate his ability to help this team continue to thrive until they are back to full strength.