Originally written on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 10/22/14
CINCINNATI Todd Frazier led the Cincinnati Reds in everything during spring training but turning out the ball park lights and emptying the clubhouse trash cans. If they had asked, he could have done that, too. And with a smile. Anything to make the team. Frazier hit the most home runs (five), drove in the most runs (15), amassed the most total bases (38) and scored the most runs (12). Maybe he should have turned out all the lights and emptied all the trash cans because what he did on the field wasn't enough. The 26-year-old supplemental first round pick in 2007 was still with the club on the last day of spring training, but on that last day when the rest of the team packed for Cincinnati Frazier packed for Louisville to join the Class AAA Bats. What's a guy have to do? What does a guy have to do to earn his oats with the big club? He was a victim of two circumstances he has options left and the team needed a left handed bat, Willie Harris. Frazier hits right handed. Now, suddenly, Frazier becomes exceedingly important, especially for the next two weeks, because regular third baseman Scott Rolen was placed on the disabled list Saturday with a strained left shoulder. "I called the park at noon and said, 'This isn't working,'" said Rolen. "I'm hurting and I am in pain. I'm not healthy. As much as I went to help the team, I'm hurting the team." So, being the team player that he is, Rolen is stepping aside. "I'm not taking competitive at-bats and, actually, they are going the wrong way," he added. "I fought to stay on the field because I want to play the whole season, no DL, so I didn't want to talk about the pink elephant in the room." But the elephant brayed loud enough for all to hear, Rolen couldn't catch up to even the most mediocre of fastballs. "We'll address this, take some time off to get the inflammation out of there that is in there now," said Rolen. Asked how long it bothered him, he said, "That's a good question. How about seven years. But that's an easy excuse and I'm responsible for my bat-bats when I walk out there and I haven't taken good at-bats and haven't been helpful for the team." So now the burden plops on the broad shoulders of the man they shipped to the minors after a more than productive spring. Frazier admits that for a while he wanted to tear down those light fixtures and kick those trash cans from Goodyear, Ariz. to Montery, Mexico. "At first, I was upset, he said. "But that's the way of life, I guess. You could sit and harp on stuff, like what do I have to do, but I had my fiance with me, which was great, and she was very supportive. Todd and his fiance, Jackie, plan a December wedding and, like Frazier, she is from New Jersey and he said, "I can't get away from Jersey, can I? Frazier certainly had to wonder about things. He was called up to the majors for the first time late last season, joining the team in Philadelphia. He struck out on a pinch-hitting appearance that day and the next day he was back in Louisville, the quickest Louisville-Philadelphia round trip in history. Of his spring training demotion, Frazier said, "My fiance and I talked it over for a little bit, then the next day the sun came up and it was a new day. You can't harp on things and that's what I've learned from life so far. What are you going to do? You can be angry at the world or you can do something about it. You have to do something about it. Just two weeks into the season Miguel Cairo went on the disabled list and Frazier was summoned forthwith back to Cincinnati. And he is doing everything in his command to stay. He has five pinch-hits in six at-bats, plus a walk. In limited playing time he is hitting .364 with a home run and three RBIs. He survived a hold-your-breath moment when Cairo came off the DL last week. Was Frazier again the guy to go? Not this time. Even though Harris was the only left handed bat on the bench, he was 4 for 34. Harris went, Frazier stayed. He started his fourth game of the season at third base Saturday against the Washington Nationals and also has played in left field, starting one game there and he has played first base and second base, everything but shortstop, the position he played when he signed. "I'm always excited when I walk into the clubhouse and see that I'm in the lineup, he said. "And I don't care where. Anywhere. I don't mind left field, I don't mind third base. Those two are what it looks like right now and that's fine with me. If Frazier frets, he can always think about the odyssey of his older brother, Jeff, originally signed by the Detroit Tigers. He is trying to hold on to his professional career and began this year playing in the Mexican League. But he was released, yet he caught a break. The Tigers needed him and re-signed him. "He played in Mexico in the winter and played pretty well, but he got released a couple of weeks ago, said Todd. "The Tigers needed somebody to fill in and he said, Sure, good timing.' So Jeff Frazier is playing right now at Class AAA Toledo. While younger brother, Todd, is establishing himself, the 28-year-old Jeff is clinging to his baseball life and so far has only two weeks of major-league experience with the Tigers. "I talk to him on the phone all the time, said Frazier. "He has to pick it up with his play. That's what you have to do when you first get picked up. But he'll be fine. He's a slow starter. Todd, though, knows that even being a fast starter doesn't get you the rewards you deserve, but a person pity party never helps.
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