White Sox’ Todd Frazier sticking to the plan

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Todd Frazier connects on a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays last April. (AP)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The only eventful thing about Todd Frazier’s spring has been an oblique strain that put him on the shelf. The White Sox third baseman is healthy again and playing regularly, but he’s making very little noise — no homers, no RBI and a .161 batting -average while striking out only six times.

“You’ll get that first homer today,’’ first-base coach Daryl Boston said Sunday morning, needling a veteran he knew would take it in stride.

“You’ll get a knuckle sandwich,’’ Frazier said, firing back in jest.

It was all in good fun for Frazier, who did not get that first homer in the Sox’ Cactus League game against the Giants that afternoon. He went 0-for-3 with three ground-ball outs.

Frazier arrived at camp after a season in which he posted career highs with 40 homers and 98 RBI while batting .225 — a career low — bent on hitting the ball to right field. The goal is to use more of the field and hike the average when the real games begin this season.

He says he’s sticking with the plan. For once.

“I always come into spring training wanting to work on something, and after the first swing it’s, ‘OK, let’s go back to the way I am,’ ” Frazier said. “This time I am really trying to hone in on seeing some pitches, swinging at strikes.

“My body feels good. Everything is good, where I want it to be. I’m working on some stuff, so the numbers might not be there. I’m pleased with the approach going to the opposite field.’’

Frazier, 31, will be a free agent after the season, which makes him a trade candidate, if not now by the time the trade deadline nears in late July, for sure. And there’s the added pressure of putting up big numbers to build his portfolio for free agency.

“It’s a huge year coming up for me,’’ he said. “I talked to Trick [hitting coach Todd Steverson] about being who you are, not trying to do too much, and everything will take care of itself.’’

With home-run totals of 29, 35 and 40 in his last three years, including two with the Reds, Frazier ranks first among third basemen with 142 homers since 2012. Forty was the most by a Sox third baseman, and he ranks third among active third baseman with a .966 fielding percentage, behind Martin Prado and Evan Longoria.

Even with one season on the South Side, his experience and personality equate to a leadership role.

“He’s somebody I can lean toward,’’ said shortstop Tim Anderson, 23, who mans the left side of the infield with Frazier. “We built a good relationship and it keeps getting better and better. Playing beside him made me feel more comfortable. He’s somebody you want to be around, off and on the field.’’

Frazier says he’s “100 percent” healthy after dealing with a sprained left finger early in camp and the oblique.

With three Cactus League games left and two exhibitions in Milwaukee, “All I care about is how I’m feeling at the plate,’’ Frazier said.

“We’ll start ramping it up. There will be a time where it’s ‘go time.’ It’s getting there. I get an off day [Monday]. After tomorrow, we’ll start getting after it.’’

Getting after points on the average.

“That’s a huge goal,’’ he said. “I’m a .250 hitter. Let’s be realistic, I’m not gong to hit .315 or .320. I’d like to, but that means I’m going to hit 15 home runs. I could do it, but you have to be realistic and be who you are. The power will be there, so let’s get the average up and get those runners in scoring position in.’’

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com


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