Clint Frazier Dealing With Plantar Fasciitis, Yankees Taking Things 'Slow'

Max Goodman

Don't panic just yet, but another member of the Yankees' star-studded outfield is "dealing" with an injury.

While Clint Frazier has been able to participate in all baseball activity over the first five days of Yankees' Summer Camp, manager Aaron Boone revealed Wednesday that the outfielder has been managing plantar fasciitis of late. 

"He's just had a little plantar fascia, but it really hasn't held him back we've kind of held him back here in the early going," New York's skipper explained. 

One day ago, Boone first referenced what he called a "little foot issue" for Frazier, spelling out that the club is taking things slow with two weeks to go ahead of Opening Day.

"He had a little foot issue he was dealing with over the last couple of months, but he's been able to do everything from running and playing outfield," Boone said. "We're just kind of slow-playing here these first couple of days."

After a record-setting season of injuries last year – a trend that leaked into 2020 earlier this spring as well – it's hard not to take even the slightest hint of an injury seriously in the Bronx. 

During Wednesday's workout, the 25-year-old did not participate in base running drills with the rest of New York's position players. Instead, he ran straight sprints on the outfield grass. 

He went on to take fly balls in left field and swing it in batting practice, having no trouble whacking balls deep into the empty bleacher seats. 

As for live at-bats, Frazier appeared in the lineup against Gerrit Cole on Tuesday night, punching out against the Bombers' ace two times. Initially, backup backstop Kyle Higashioka was slated to start against the Yankees' ace at designated hitter in the order's third spot. He was a late scratch after feeling "a little sore" during batting practice, Boone said.

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"We were gonna DH both of them. Higgy was just a little sore in his neck in BP, and we just decided to hold him out of it, especially after catching yesterday," the skipper explained on Tuesday. 

Keeping this club's key contributors healthy as they begin to partake in more game reps at training camp is of the upmost importance for Boone and the coaching staff. Pitchers are on a short leash with pitch counts while those returning from an assortment of ailments continue to slowly progress forward under constant surveillance.

For instance, Giancarlo Stanton mentioned on Monday that he recently arrived at 100 percent, saying he's ready to start the season at designated hitter following his right calf strain in February. That said, the slugger didn't run the bases after working a walk against righty Mike King in the Yankees' intrasquad on Tuesday night. 

As is the case with Stanton staying off the base paths for the time being, keeping Higashioka out of New York's second intrasquad lineup was nothing more than a precaution. Boone said Wednesday he expects the catcher behind the plate in Thursday's intrasquad.

New York is scheduled to begin its 60-game regular season two weeks from Thursday, but will play a trio of exhibition games starting next weekend. Those contests are, of course, coronavirus permitting. 

READ: New York Yankees Are Biggest Winner of MLB's 2020 Schedule Release

Speaking of which, DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa – who both tested positive for the coronavirus last week – were placed on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday morning. It remains to be seen whether they will be ready to go for Opening Day in exactly two weeks.

Boone disclosed that Jonathan Loaisiga – the final member on the Bombers' player pool roster to be in the intake testing process for COVID-19 – tested negative and threw a bullpen on Wednesday. The right-hander had arrived in the Big Apple on Monday from his native Nicaragua and he's tentatively lined up to make his in-game debut on Saturday. 

Loaisiga was a candidate to fill New York's final spot in the starting rotation had the season started on time with James Paxton still on the shelf. Now that Paxton's healthy, all eyes are on the progression of Masahiro Tanaka after he was struck in the head by a line drive over the weekend and subsequently diagnosed with a mild concussion.

That caution Boone spoke of with Frazier, Higashioka and Stanton applies to the right-hander as well. No matter how well he's responding to the scary incident at this time, the Yankees want to be as careful as can be.

"I just don't want to get into speculating too much day in and day out," he said, explaining there were no updates on Tanaka's condition since he rode the exercise bike on Monday with no sign of symptoms. "The reality is he's doing well. He's responded well, but we also want to be incredibly careful with this and make sure he's checking all the boxes while he's in concussion protocol."

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