Frazier returns to Cleveland with fond memories

Yankees' No. 2 prospect facing former team for first time

Frazier returns to Cleveland with fond memories

CLEVELAND -- In the weeks following the blockbuster trade that sent Clint Frazier to the Yankees last July, the outfielder couldn't help but steal glances at box scores to see how Andrew Miller was faring with his new team, believing on some level that he had to fill the dominant left-hander's shoes.

Frazier marveled as Miller helped the Indians get within one victory of their first World Series title since 1948, but he also realized that stressing over the hurler's performance would not help his own. Returning to Cleveland on Thursday, Frazier is happy to be making his own mark. He went 1-for-4 with a double in his Progressive Field debut, ending with a 5-1 loss to the Indians.

"Andrew put a lot of pressure on me last year," said Frazier, who is ranked as the Yankees' No. 2 prospect by MLBPipeline.com. "His performance was probably about as good as you could get, which made me feel like I had to try to live up to him. I had to realize that I'm Clint, I'm not Andrew."

Clint Frazier's RBI triple

Miller is currently on the 10-day disabled list with right patellar tendinitis, and the 22-year-old laughed when asked if he was disappointed that they would not get to face off in this series. No, Frazier would much prefer to view Miller as a compliment than from a distance of 60 feet and 60 inches.

"It really lets you know that the team thinks very highly of me if they're going to trade me for a guy like that," Frazier said.

General manager Brian Cashman raved about Frazier's "legendary bat speed" following the July 31 trade, in which the Yankees also acquired pitchers J.P. Feyereisen, Ben Heller and Justus Sheffield.

"I think we knew he was really talented," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I don't think you can trade for Andrew Miller and think you're going to sneak three guys over there that can't play. It was a big, big gulp, but we got to the seventh game of the World Series. We didn't win, but we don't do any of that without Andrew."

Clint Frazier's leaping grab

In 25 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after the trade, Frazier batted just .228 as he competed against Miller's long, lanky shadow.

"I didn't know how to handle it at first, but I didn't expect to get traded," Frazier said. "It's part of the game. It's part of going through the process of being a player."

Frazier focused on making the necessary adjustments this season, helping him get the call for his Major League debut on July 1. He joined Joe DiMaggio, Gary Sanchez and Shane Spencer as the only Yankees in the past 100 years to collect at least 13 extra-base hits in his first 23 games.

"I think he's handled it really well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't think we've seen it be too much for him. I think his at-bats have been good. I don't see wild swings. I think he runs the bases well, I think he's played very good defense as well. A guy that you weren't sure how he was going to react when he got here because he's so young, he's reacted well."

The Indians' first-round selection (fifth overall) in the 2013 MLB Draft, Frazier said that he remains thankful for the teammates, coaches and coordinators who helped him as he honed his skills at Class A Lake County, Class A Advanced Lynchburg, Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, dreaming of someday playing in Cleveland.

"It was something that I thought about every day," Frazier said. "Every day, the goal was to get promoted to the next level, and this was the ultimate goal when I was with the organization. It was something I was always looking forward to in the back of my head and envisioning myself, Bradley [Zimmer] and a couple of the other guys out there at the same time."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.