Despite not making himself available to reporters after misplaying three balls in right field in Sunday's 8-5 loss to the Red Sox, Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier owned up to his mistakes and said he is continuing to work on his defensive skills.
"It's tough to cost the team runs and a potential win, especially when playing at home against Boston," Frazier told ESPN's Coley Harvey.
Frazier committed one fielding error and misjudged two more balls, each leading to run-scoring plays, in right field on Sunday.
With the Yankees trailing 3-2 in the seventh inning, an Eduardo Nunez single rolled under Frazier's glove and to the wall for a two-base error, allowing Michael Chavis to score. Later in the inning, his diving attempt on an Andrew Benintendi single was short, as the ball bounced off Frazier's glove and rolled away, allowing Brock Holt to score from first base and give Boston a 6-2 lead.
In the eighth inning, he misjudged a Chavis fly ball down the right-field line, taking an inopportune route and allowing it to bounce and roll away for an RBI triple that made it 8-2.
Both manager Aaron Boone and center fielder Aaron Hicks said they believe Frazier is putting too much pressure on himself and needs to do a better job of slowing the game down.
"There's going to be days where things seem like they are not going your way," Hicks said. "It's kind of seems like the ball is always being hit to you. That's just the time where you learn over time, where you've just got to slow the game down."
Frazier, who is tied for the MLB lead with three errors in right field, said he has been working with outfield instructor Reggie Willits before each game to improve on his defense.
"Things keep happening that shouldn't," Frazier said, "and I'm acknowledging that with all of the early work I'm doing before games."
Fellow right fielder Aaron Judge told Harvey last week that he, too, has dealt with struggles in right field. After all, Judge committed five errors in 1,238 2/3 innings in 2017 and three errors in 789 2/3 innings last year. Even dating back to the minors, Judge committed nine errors in right field in 2015 and cut that down to four in 2016.
But though Frazier has committed three errors in 171 2/3 innings in right this year, Judge has stressed his confidence that Frazier will be able to turn things around.
"I was missing balls down there," Judge told Harvey, "and nobody knew about it on the big stage. ... So for him to be able to come here and make these adjustments and working on them at the biggest, highest levels, hat's off to him. He's going to be just fine. I know it."
In his minor-league career, Frazier made seven errors in 929 2/3 innings in right field. And he has a .967 fielding percentage in the minors. This year, his fielding percentage is down to .906 and he has a defensive WAR of -1.0 in right field. Still, he is hopeful he will rebound.
"Despite what has been happening during the game," Frazier said, "I'm still confident in myself to be able to turn this around soon."