One of the goals Todd Frazier set for himself this season was to appear in 162 games, if at all possible.
Illness earlier this week eliminated the possibility of the White Sox third baseman playing in every game when he missed Tuesday’s contest. Frazier’s high for games played is 157, a number he has reached in the last two seasons. And while he hoped to appear in every game, Frazier knows that to play with the energy level he and Brett Lawrie do, sometimes a day off is necessary. Lawrie is getting his first game off this season on Thursday night as the White Sox look to avoid a series sweep against the Houston Astros.
“You don’t not want to play,” Frazier said. “You want to play. But I remember last year after the All-Star break, I was exhausted and we had three games at home against Cleveland and, first time I’ve ever done this, I said, ‘Man, I think I need a day off,’ and Bryan Price was ‘All right, there you go.’ I didn’t know how to say it. I was just totally drained mentally and physically and got Sunday off and eventually went out and played. But it’s a manager’s job to figure out and I think everybody does need a mental day off. I guess mine was being sick, but I didn’t want to have a day off, I was feeling good. He determines that and you can fight it all you want, but when he makes that decision that’s what happens.”
Lawrie let White Sox manager Robin Ventura know he wanted to be in Thursday’s lineup.
But with Lawrie having played in 40 of 40 games, an off day was coming, Ventura said. That Lawrie hasn’t hit over the past six games -- he’s 3-for-25 with a homer, two walks and 13 strikeouts -- probably helped Ventura make the decision Thursday.
Avisail Garcia is also out of the lineup. Carlos Sanchez is playing for Lawrie and Jerry Sands is starting in the place of Garcia.
Ventura said the decision is an equal mix of finding playing time for his reserves and self-preservation for regulars.
“You would think so,” Ventura said. “(Lawrie) would probably beg to differ. But you have to give him a day at some point, and today's that day.
“Sandsy and Sanchy have to play. You got to get them some time. (Lawrie) definitely pleaded his case, but it was either going to be today or tomorrow for either one, so today is the day.”
Now that 162 won’t happen, Frazier is more honest about where he’ll likely end up. He’d love to play them all, but after last season’s mental day he knows the value of taking a day off.
“For some reason (162) was one of my goals this year,” Frazier said. “That would have been pretty cool. I’ve got (157). If I’m at about 155, I’m doing something so that’s good. It attests to the training staff we have here, too.”