Todd Frazier's step forward was supposed to happen last season.
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After a 2012 in which he hit .273 with an .829 OPS and 19 home runs in 422 at-bats, the former first-round pick was a breakout candidate heading into the 2013 season. But Frazier regressed last year, slashing .234/.314/.407 with the same number of home runs in 109 more at-bats.
Now a post-hype sleeper, Frazier may finally be ready to deliver on that promise. The 28-year-old has been one of the best hitters through the first series of games in 2014. Through three games, Frazier is batting .455/.538/.1000 with two home runs, four RBI and a stolen base.
And he did his best work Thursday afternoon against the Cardinals. Following a Jay Bruce home run, Frazier walloped a Lance Lynn pitch into the oblivion beyond the left field fence. The tape-measure shot officially checked in at 474 feet, the 12th-longest home run in Great American Ballpark history. He added a three-run shot off Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek in the seventh inning, this time to right field, for good measure.
And while the third baseman will never be mistaken for teammate Billy Hamilton, Frazier may also surprise in the stolen base category this year. Over the winter, new Reds manager Bryan Price said he'd like his team to be more aggressive on the bases, with Frazier as one of the players who could contribute more. Frazier stole 58 bases in the minors, and team officials indicated they believe he could steal 10 to 15 this season.
Double-digit steals with 20-plus home runs would represent a career year for Frazier. It's a year late, but Frazier's hot start could be the beginning of the step forward the Reds and fantasy owners have been waiting for.
Tommy John '50-50' For Parnell
What amounts to a coin flip could decide the next year of Bobby Parnell's career.
The Mets closer indicated to ESPNNewYork.com Thursday that doctors have told him he's got a "50-50" chance of needing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said the decision might be made after six weeks, a period that included a throwing program, but Parnell said he may only wait two weeks before making a decision.
“I want to make sure if I do have surgery I give myself the best bet to get back for next year and have the recovery time,” Parnell said.
For now, Parnell and the Mets are hoping a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his elbow will help the healing process. If he requires the surgery, Parnell won't be back before the 2015 season, and Jose Valverde -- yes, that Jose Valverde -- will serve as the Mets' closer for the foreseeable future.
Ike Davis On The Outs?
The Mets have chosen a first baseman, but it's not the one you'd expect.
A source told the New York Daily News' Andy Martino that Lucas Duda will start at first base Friday and, it seems, most of the team's games for the next few weeks, a decision that suggests the team has become even more disenchanted with Ike Davis.
Earlier Thursday, Mets manager Terry Collins indicated the team would like to choose one first baseman and stick with him rather than cycle between Davis, Duda and Josh Satin as it has done for much of the past year. The choice was made to go forward with Duda, the source told Martino, because the team wants to see if he can take the first base job and run with it.
It's another strike against Davis, the former first-round pick of the team in 2008. The organization actively tried to trade him over the winter to no avail, and now he's been relegated to a bench role. It may be the move that finally punches Davis' ticket out of the Big Apple.
National League Quick Hits: Contrary to popular belief, Doug Fister (lat) did not resume a throwing program Thursday. The team still reports he's "moving forward" in his recovery ... Mets placed OF Chris Young on the 15-day disabled list with a right quad strain ... Angel Pagan's three-run homer, his third hit of the day, capped a five-run eighth inning in the Giants' 8-5 comeback win over the Diamondbacks ... Jonathan Broxton (forearm) will begin a rehab assignment Friday with an eye on being back with the Reds -- and closing games -- Monday ... Mike Minor (shoulder) pitched two innings in a rehab start as he continues to try to build up his stamina ... Mat Latos (knee) allowed five runs over four innings in his rehab start, with hopes that he'll need just one more before rejoining the Reds' rotation ... Devin Mesoraco (oblique) will need at least three rehab games before he's activated by the Reds, a move that could come as soon as Monday ... Jason Motte (elbow) threw 20-25 pitches in a simulated game. Multiple extended spring training appearances and a rehab assignment are on tap in the next few weeks, with an early May return possibly in the cards ... Jordan Zimmermann was scratched from his scheduled start due to illness, but he was hoping to recover in time to make the start Friday instead ... Curtis Granderson collected his first two hits, a pair of doubles, as a member of the Mets in Thursday's loss ... Pedro Strop earned the save in Thursday's game, a day after Jose Veras blew a save chance against the Pirates ... Steve Cishek locked down his second save of 2014 and his 31st in a row dating back to last season. Somebody break up the 3-1 Marlins.
American League Quick Hits: X-rays on Jason Castro's right foot came back negative after the catcher left Thursday's game due to discomfort in the foot, a result of being hit twice by pitches from Yankees starter Ivan Nova ... Nate Jones aggravated the left glute injury that plagued him in spring training during Thursday's outing ... Wil Myers was scratched from Thursday's game against the Blue Jays with flu-like symptoms ... Gordon Beckham (oblique) began a rehab assignment Thursday and should be back with the club in the coming days ... Matt Harrison (back) allowed two runs in two-plus innings of a rain-shortened rehab start Thursday ... Casey Janssen (back) played long toss from 120 feet, the first of a few times he'll do so before being cleared to throw off a mound ... Matt Lindstrom allowed two runs in suffering his first blown save of the season, just days after White Sox manager Robin Ventura named him the team's closer ... Michael Bourn (hamstring) is only expected to need a few games on the rehab assignment he began Thursday ... the rainout of Thursday's Tigers-Royals game pushed back the debut of Royals flamethrower Yordano Ventura, who now won't pitch until next week. For the Tigers, Anibal Sanchez will start Friday instead, with Drew Smyly's turn getting skipped ... Rays placed INF Sean Rodriguez on paternity leave. Just don't tell Mets fans.
Todd Frazier's step forward was supposed to happen last season.