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Feb. 23—Adam Frazier heard his name in rumors about being dealt at the trade deadline last August and again all offseason, so it was something of a surprise that the second baseman is back in spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Not that Frazier was complaining, explaining that he is ready to prove that last season's struggles at the plate are behind him.
"You wake up and by the end of the day you could be across the country somewhere else," Frazier said. "I try to control what I can control. I know I can't really have a say in any of that. I'll be where my feet are and try to get better each day. I'm in a position now to try to lead these guys, so I'll do my best to do that."
A two-time Gold Glove finalist at second base who also has played left field, he is valued for his versatility. A career .279 batting average and .342 on-base percentage prior to last season helped his cause. That made Frazier a potential trade chip for the rebuilding Pirates.
What hurt that cause was Frazier's slow start. That contributed to his slash line dipping to .230/.297/.364, with seven doubles, seven home runs and 23 RBIs, which tied with Colin Moran for most on the team.
After the Pirates traded Josh Bell to Washington, Joe Musgrove to San Diego and Jameson Taillon to the New York Yankees, Frazier was expected to be dealt next. He played the waiting game, staying in touch with Pirates general manager Ben Cherington and manager Derek Shelton to see what his future held.
"Obviously, I read the internet so I see things like that," Frazier said. "You never know what's going to come. ... None of that's really come about. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'm happy to be a Pittsburgh Pirate and looking forward to working with these guys."
Shelton gave a strong endorsement by saying that Frazier will be the Pirates' starting second baseman this season, which happens to be Frazier's position of preference. He committed one error in 154 chances over 40 games there last season, whereas Kevin Newman committed three errors there in half as many games at second.
"We're gonna do what's best for the Pirates right now," Shelton said of Frazier. "He'll be our second baseman. That's not to say he won't go out and play left if we double-switch or we have a game where we need him to go out there, but he's going to play second base, and rightfully so. This is a guy that's been in the Gold Glove conversation the last two years at least and has done a really good job."
The slow starts, however, are a greater concern. Frazier didn't boost his batting average above the Mendoza line until late August, and was hitting .208 at the trade deadline on Aug. 31. That fueled his offseason motivation, and Frazier is creating a mentality of being consistent.
"I think it's no secret that I always come out kinda slow with the bat," Frazier said. "I'd like to fix that finally. Just be a consistent hitter. I know it's in me to do that. It's just a matter of executing the plan, finding a swing here in spring and getting comfortable with that."
Shelton pointed to Frazier's September numbers — when he slashed .258/.340/.416 with five doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs — as more reflective of his career numbers. Of course, Frazier benefited from batting in front of Ke'Bryan Hayes for 11 games as the rookie third baseman batted .376 to win NL rookie of the month honors.
Despite all of the trade talk, Shelton said he spent more time discussing deer hunting with Frazier. The manager had a simple message: "Concentrate on baseball. I don't think there's anything other than that. ... Worry about playing baseball and getting off to a good start, just like with everybody else."
For Frazier, there's no sense in fretting over the future.
"I have to be where my feet are, and everything else that happens, happens," Frazier said. "I'm happy to be here. Show up ready to work and build off of last season."
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .