Frazier: No regrets ducking media after miscues

TORONTO -- Two days after he declined to speak to reporters immediately following what he called the "most difficult game of my professional career in the outfield," New York Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier doubled down Tuesday, saying he had no regrets about avoiding the cameras and ducking questions about the series of defensive miscues he had Sunday night.

"No, I don't regret it. And to be fair, I don't think I owe anyone an explanation, because it's not a rule that I have to speak," Frazier said, meandering his way through a number of different topics while addressing reporters just before the Yankees' series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Section 7 of the collectively bargained Major League Baseball Players Association's regular-season media guidelines says, "It is very important to our game that ALL players are available to the media for reasonable periods and it is the player's responsibility to cooperate."

Frazier's reluctance to be interviewed came after the Yankees' 8-5 loss at home to the Boston Red Sox.

Nearly an hour after that game ended, and mere minutes before the Yankees' scheduled 11:30 p.m. ET bus departure from Yankee Stadium for a flight to Toronto, a team spokesman announced to waiting reporters that Frazier was not going to speak.

Often affable and regularly available on nights when he delivers big base hits or clutch home runs, Frazier felt embarrassed by his performance in the field Sunday. He lamented hearing for the first time heckling from fans in Yankee Stadium's bleacher seats who were angered by his defensive woes.

Those miscues included being charged with an error when a ground ball got past him and rolled to the right-field wall, plating a Red Sox run. He also had trouble tracking a fly ball hit near him, prompting him to dive -- unsuccessfully -- for it at the last second. Another fly ball he likely should have caught fell along the right-field line and resulted in a triple.

"The plays were what they were. I sucked," Frazier said Tuesday, before crushing a fourth-inning, two-run homer that put the Yankees in front of the Blue Jays early. "I lost us the game. Everyone knew what I did wrong, and that's what it came down to."

The Yankees also ended up losing Tuesday, 4-3. Available after this latest loss, Frazier addressed reporters for 31 seconds. He answered two questions, then ended the session after a long, awkward pause that came after the second question.

Among the only two queries he took, Frazier was asked if he felt vindicated by the homer, given the drama that has swirled around him the past two days.

He smiled and said succinctly: "It felt good."

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the home run was a good indication of Frazier's approach despite all he already has experienced this week.

"It was good to see him with all that's been out the last couple of days to have a focus, and to go up there and really focus on having good at-bats, which he did," Boone said.

Although he declined to talk to the collective of reporters in the clubhouse Sunday night, Frazier did speak exclusively to ESPN a couple of hours after the Yankees' stadium departure.

"I've been working really hard every day with [outfield coach] Reggie [Willits] before batting practice starts, and despite what has been happening during the game, I'm still confident in myself to be able to turn this around soon," Frazier told ESPN. "It's tough to cost the team runs and a potential win, especially when playing at home against Boston. Things keep happening that shouldn't, and I'm acknowledging all that with all of the early work I'm doing before games."

Reaction to that comment was mostly mixed from Yankees fans on social media. Some were glad he finally, albeit a couple of hours later, spoke about his desire to address his gaffes. Others thought it was too little, too late.

Boone, among many other coaches, team advisers and teammates, has spoken privately with Frazier about both his play and skipping out on the media.

"We talked a little bit [Tuesday] about certain things and expectations and things like that, but I'll keep it at that," Boone said.

As Frazier stated on Tuesday, "I knew the people that I should have spoken to, I did, and that's where I went. I didn't feel like I needed to stand in front of everyone and explain myself."

Still, his manager believes that facing reporters, after both good and bad times, is of paramount importance for his players.

"Part of being a big league player, and certainly part of playing here," Boone said. "We want our guys to always respond when you play a specific role in a ballgame. That's part of being a pro, and being a big league ballplayer and being a New York Yankee.

"Those are the things that are part of the growing process that we go through with a lot of our guys."

In addition to speaking about turning down Sunday's mass media interview opportunity -- and his poor defensive play that prompted it -- Frazier also apologized for hanging his teammates out to dry that night. While he remained away from the portion of the clubhouse reporters are permitted to occupy, his teammates were asked to discuss his play.

"There's going to be days where things kind of seem like they're not going your way. It just always seems like the ball is being hit to you," center fielder Aaron Hicks said. "That's just a time where you learn over time that you've got to slow the game down. Know the situations going into it, what might happen before the play even starts."

Frazier was remorseful Tuesday about putting his teammates in such an uncomfortable position.

"I don't want them to have to speak for me, but I also want to be on the same page as everyone in there," Frazier said. "I should have been standing in front of my locker."

Unprompted, the 24-year-old outfielder -- who has made as many headlines for his daily choice of footwear as he has for his 11 home runs this season -- also said he felt the coverage around him has been somewhat sensationalized.

Specifically, Frazier cited problems he had with stories that were written in past seasons about his hair being too long and not up to Yankees code. He also referenced questions he heard from broadcasters last season who wondered about the length of time he spent away from playing after suffering a concussion during spring training.

"Since I got traded over here, it's been some stories that came out that shouldn't have came out," Frazier said. "And it's difficult, because the way that I'm perceived by people is not how I think that I really am. I don't feel like it's been fair at times, and I don't owe an apology for not talking.

"I know I don't fit the mold of what some of the past and current Yankees are like, and that may be why it's a little bit harder for me to navigate every day, and I'm trying to be myself in here. And sometimes it feels like people have an issue with me just being myself. It's been difficult; it's been hard. My entire life, I've always kind of been different and struggled to fit in because people perceive me a certain way. It was, whenever I was younger, the only thing that I felt like kept me relevant was baseball."