Clint Frazier acted like he belonged.
The Indians hope that turns out to be true.
The team’s first choice in baseball’s First Year Player Draft signed his contract on Saturday, realized he was $3.5 million richer (signing bonus) and then took batting practice with the first group of Indians.
“It was different,” Frazier said with a smile. “I felt like I could go out there and hit some HRs pretty easy, but not today.”
If today wasn’t easy you’d like to see when it is. Frazier acted like a seasoned pro, spraying balls to left and right field and hitting several into the bleachers in left (one unofficial count had him with seven home runs and five off the wall). It was batting practice, but Frazier was giving his first impression with Terry Francona, Ty Van Burkleo and Sandy Alomar watching intently from the backstop.
Frazier, who had a school-record 63 home runs at Loganville (Ga.) High School, met with Francona briefly on Friday, and spent 20 minutes talking with Jason Giambi, who advised him not to make the game harder than it is.
What impression did he make on the one time he had to make a first impression?
“Very polite, very respectful,” Francona said. “And he’ll give ya a handshake that …”
Frazier handled himself with the poise of a veteran with the media as well, answering questions fully — and often with a smile. Just like he smiled when he walked into the Indians clubhouse for the first time as an 18-year-old and saw the major league players waiting for him wearing red wigs, a tribute to his mop of red hair.
Frazier leaves for Arizona on Sunday, where he will start in rookie ball with the Indians Arizona team. That he’s leaving his family for the first time on Father’s Day was not lost on him
“It’ll be very bittersweet,” Frazier said. “My Dad just told me this is the best Father’s Day present anybody could have. I’m glad to be able to come out here and bring a smile to his face and enjoy the last moments with my family. Obviously, going into the new life that I’m going to be living is something they’re very proud of.”