Yankees News: Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, and Clint Frazier fights for No.26

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge shoulder update:

The New York Yankees faithful, as well as coaches and Aaron Boone, are concerned with the health of their monster slugger Aaron Judge.  Judge reported to spring training early, but as of a day ago, he had yet to take batting practice.  Judge has been suffering from shoulder pain, a situation that he has dealt with since his time at Fresno State.  The good news is that Judge played toss and hit from the Tee yesterday and is expected to take batting practice today or tomorrow.

The Yankees are hoping the injury-prone slugger can stay healthy this year and replicate his incredible 2017 season. Judge has suffered significant injuries in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons that have considerably lessened his impact on the club.  Fans are hoping the Yankee will get a contract extension that the front office has been withholding so far.  If Judge misses any substantial time off the field due to injuries again this season, that extension probably will not be forthcoming.

D.J. LeMahieu wants to remain a Yankee:

New York Yankee D.J. LeMahieu has been relatively quiet as spring trainer started at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.  With the Astros talk and a series of new injury scares dominating the news, D.J. has been in the background.   Yesterday in an interview, he spoke about his 2019 season.

“I think I get in trouble, especially, if I try to do too much,” he said. “So just kind of stay within myself and I did a really good job of that last year and the results happened. For me, I’m not trying to do anything, I should just be myself and everything takes care of itself.”

He without mentioning the Astros sign-stealing, he recalled the heartbreak of losing Game 6 of the ALCS at MinuteMaid Park.  LeMahieu hit the game tieing home run before Jose Altuve hit his home run off Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros the series win.

“Went from I thought we were going to win the World Series to being in the locker room real quick, it wa a tough loss and I think it makes me even more excited to be here starting spring training again.”

The Silver Slugger talked about playing ball in New York and made it clear that he wants to remain with the Yankees.  This is his contract year as he becomes a free agent following this season.  He was arguably one of the Yankee’s most important players last year as the team faced multiple injuries. D.J. remained healthy and reliable, manning second base and seamlessly sliding to the two corners of the infield when needed.

Clint Frazier fights for that 26th spot:

This year rosters around baseball will expand from the traditional 25 to 26 players, and Clint Frazier wants that spot.  Frazier, so far in the last two years, has had a checkered time with the big team.  At times ablaze at the plate and at times a little leaguer in the outfield.  There is no question that Frazier is a formidable force with his quick swinging bat. He slashed .267/.317/.489, with 12 home runs in 225 at-bats in 2019.  Where Frazier has to prove himself in his defense.  This season may be his last chance to prove to the Yankees that he belongs at the major league level. 

Several players, including Manager Aaron Boone, believes in Frazier.  Boone said: “Fraz has the chance to be a great player in this league, we want to be there for him, continue to help him grow in this game.” How much playing time if he makes the team will depend on the health of the outfield with Aaron Hicks still rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery, questions with Stanton durability, and a possible sore shoulder from Judge.  As Frazier fights for the extra spot on the roster he said: 

“…So I think this spring training, if I could go out there and I do what I can do offensively and I do what I know that I can defensively, then maybe I’ll put myself in a different spot to not only focus on the 26th man.”

When Frazier was spoken too, he seemed to want to talk about baseball and not his run-ins with reporters or any other distractions he may have caused.

“But I also believe that if I lose who I am, it probably affects you on the field, and that’s the biggest thing, is trying to be yourself without becoming a distraction. And as we all know, distractions can linger. And I don’t want to go through distractions. I don’t want to deal with that anymore….I’m here to have people just talk about baseball. I don’t need the rest of the stuff. This isn’t the Yankees’ reality TV show.”