Frazier finding gradual gains at the plate

SARASOTA, Fla. – The little bit of roster uncertainty clinging to the Orioles can’t touch Adam Frazier.

Frazier could get the bulk of the work at second base this season, with chances to move to the corner outfield. The infield’s versatility makes it difficult to declare absolute starters at each position.

How Frazier hit in camp didn’t matter except to the player who put in the extra reps in the cage to swing his way out of his offensive funk.

Frazier was 0-for-9 in his first four turns in the lineup. He’s reached base in seven of the next nine, including two doubles, a home run and three walks, and has struck out only once this spring.

The .182/.270/.333 line that he’ll carry into tonight’s game against the Tigers, with six hits in 37 plate appearances, won’t come close to satisfying him. But the solutions are within reach.

He can touch them.

“I feel pretty good now,” he said yesterday at his locker while many of his teammates headed over to Dunedin. “Didn’t really feel great at the start and then it’s kind of been a work in progress, which I guess is what spring is for. I feel pretty good going into a week left.”

Frazier has been meeting with the hitting instructors to perform drills aimed at getting more fluid in the box. He already had noticed improvements in his results but wanted to keep pushing.  

“In the past it’s something I’ve done, and kind of been working on the load a little bit instead of a start and stop kind of thing,” he said. So, it’s just been something we’ve worked on the past few days and it feels pretty good. I don’t know. Hopefully, some more (balls) will keep falling.”

The Orioles signed Frazier to an $8 million contract on Dec. 15, one day after his 31st birthday. He’s been with four organizations since 2021, including a trade from the Pirates to Padres and another to the Mariners last offseason.

The approach to hitting instruction isn’t mimicked by every club. Frazier is getting used to how the Orioles tackle the issues, with their analytical eye and techniques.

“Some of it I like, some of it I just kind of go with, you know?” he said. “Don’t really want to be thinking about too much in the box. It’s really about getting a good pitch and putting a good swing on it, and if you can do that, you’re going to do all these things that might be brought to light here. That’s hitting in general. It’s simplifying and then getting a good pitch and putting a good swing on it.

“Past year or so I didn’t feel that my swing was in a great spot, which, if you’re in that spot, then you’re going to not swing at the right pitches and in return it’s probably less results. If you’re in a good place you’re going to make good swing decisions. It’s kind of what’s being preached around here is good swing decisions, and then the rest will take care of itself.”

Manager Brandon Hyde won’t count Frazier among any camp concerns. He doesn’t know whether Mychal Givens’ sore left knee is going to remove another high-leverage reliever from the bullpen. That’s something to wrestle with as the club ponders its final cuts – 18 more are required, including moving John Means and Dillon Tate to the injured list – but Frazier isn’t a stressor.

“Got off to a little bit of a slow start maybe, production-wise, but much better at-bats, really, the last week or two and played a solid second base for us,” Hyde said yesterday. “Just piling up at-bats and getting more comfortable in the batter’s box.”

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