It was hidden by the mask Clint Frazier never takes off, but the outfielder admitted to wearing a smile underneath the face covering as he stood in left field during the Yankees pounding of the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.
When Frazier was recalled from the alternate site he hoped to get a chance to play regularly. That came when Aaron Judge went on the IL and Frazier excelled. But Judge came back Wednesday night and Frazier simply moved from right field to left field and continued to swing a hot bat by going 2-for-4 with a homer in a 13-2 victory.
Aaron Boone could have used Mike Tauchman or Brett Gardner, two left-handed hitters, against Blue Jays right-hander Tanner Roark but stuck with the right-handed hitting Frazier.
“There was definitely a moment where I was smiling under my mask in left field. I really tried hard to win this job and obviously there are other guys on the team that can play that position,’’ Frazier said.
“But to be the one who gets to go out there when the team is at full strength [means a lot to me].’’
According to Boone, Gleyber Torres wanted to play Tuesday and Wednesday but Torres wasn’t in the lineup for a second straight game.
“Gleyber is good. I feel one more day to be safe,’’ said Boone, who started Tyler Wade at short. “He really wanted in there today, yesterday as well, but really [Wednesday].’’
After talking to the training staff Boone decided to hold Torres out.
“One more day to make sure this doesn’t become an issue for us because obviously like many of our guys, he is not somebody we can afford to lose heading into what we hope is the postseason,’’ Boone said.
Torres went on the IL Aug. 24 with left hamstring and quadriceps issues. He returned Sept. 5 and didn’t start this past Sunday when he delivered the game-winning double. After no game on Monday, Torres wasn’t in the lineup Monday or Tuesday due to a quadriceps issue.
James Paxton’s chances of pitching in the postseason aren’t kaput, but they aren’t increasing, either.
Wednesday, the Yankees placed the left-handed starter with a left flexor issue on the 45-day IL and assigned catcher Winston Sawyer to the alternate site in Scranton.
Paxton went on the IL on Aug. 24 (backdated to Aug. 21). By the end of the regular season Sept. 27, Paxton will have been on the shelf for 37 games so it’s not likely he would be ready to help in the early part of October.
In his walk year Paxton has a 1-1 record and a 6.64 ERA in five starts.
Sawyer has spent time with the Orioles, Dodgers and Twins organizations. He signed a minor league deal with the Yankees in February.