A transition in left field from Brett Gardner to Clint Frazier could happen for the Yankees at some point this season, and Frazier has been open about wanting to take Gardner's job -- something manager Aaron Boone responded to on Tuesday.
"I don't even want (Frazier) to be getting caught up necessarily in that," Boone told reporters after Tuesday's game was rained out. "Play."
Boone added that Frazier, who dealt with concussion-related issues in a disjointed season in 2018, shouldn't worry about how things will play out.
"The talent leaps off the screen obviously in the way he swings the bat," Boone said. "So, yeah, I want him to be healthy, get reps, play and not so much worry about how it plays out. The bottom line is, if he's in a good place and playing and getting better, he's going to play in the big leagues a long time."
The 24-year-old Frazier has said multiple times that he wants to force the issue, including on Feb. 6.
"I want to show that I want to take his spot whenever the time comes, and all respect to Gardy in the world," Frazier told the New York Post on Feb. 6. "I love the guy to death and I can say that with a smile on my face because I genuinely mean that."
Gardner, 35, had the worst season of his career in 2018, hitting .236/.322/.368 in 140 games, though he was still well above average defensively in the outfield -- worth 10 DRS.
The Yankees re-worked Gardner's contract after the season, turning the original $12.5 million option (that contained a $2 million buyout) into a $7.5 million deal for 2019. So he is essentially making $9.5 million this season.
Meanwhile, Frazier has been solid in the brief taste of the majors he has experienced over the last two seasons, hitting .238/.295/.429 in 54 games.