Nick Swisher spent much of the afternoon taking extra batting practice with hitting coach Kevin Long, but he said the best advice on hitting he ever got came from his grandmother, Betty.
"My grandma always said, 'Just hit the damn ball,''' Swisher said. "So that's what I tried to do.''
Of course, Betty Swisher never told Nicky exactly how to go about doing that; she figured he could take care of that himself. And when A's starter Tyson Ross threw hinm a 3-2 fastball in the fifth inning, Swisher knew what to do with it, lining it the opposite way into the left-field seats, a two-run shot that knocked out Tyson and gave the Yankees a 6-1 lead. The HR was Swisher's 8th of the season and the two ribbies gave him back the team lead with 29.
The shot was even more impressive because earlier in the at-bat, Swisher fouled a ball off his right calf that left him hobbling around the clubhouse after the game with a large ice pack taped to it. Swisher batted once more after that --he struck out against Jerry Blevins in the seventh -- but said the ding would not affect him on Saturday.
''Can't hurt steel,'' he said.
Grandma Betty couldn't have said it any better.