CLEVELAND -- Pretty low-key afternoon leading up to today's game against the Indians at Progressive Field, but a couple of interesting tidbits:
NUNIE'S BACK: It wasn't definite until after he took batting practice, but Eduardo Nunez will return to the Yankees' lineup today, three days after being plunked on the right biceps by a Doug Fister pitch. Despite the fact that Nunez's replacement, Jayson Nix, had a big day Sunday, Joe Girardi was glad to put Nunez back on the field. "He brings a different dimension with the speed that he brings," Girardi said. "He's a kid that we want to get out there a lot and try to keep him from getting hit by pitches."
HIRO'S BACKUP: Hiroki Kuroda is making his scheduled start, five days removed from leaving a game against the Red Sox in the second inning after being hit on the middle finger by a line drive. But Girardi has Adam Warren ready tp step in if Kuroda finds he has poor command of his pitches due to the injury. "I think you'll know fairly quickly if the finger arises," Girardi said. "I feel pretty good about it, but I'll watch his command and that will probably be the telling tale."
SWISH HURT: By the Yankees, that is. In a pregame news conference, Nick Swisher said "it hurt" not to get an offer from the Yankees this offseason, even though it seemed everyone in baseball knew Swisher would not return to the Bronx except as an opposing player once his contract ran out. The Yankees did, in fact make an offer -- they tendered him a $13 million qualifying offer, which he of course rejected in favor of the four-year, $56 million deal, plus a $14 million vesting option, he got from Cleveland.
Swisher exchanged greetings with some former teammates before the game and had a tentative hug with Girardi, who when asked what he "missed" about Swisher, said, "It's a switch hitter in the middle of the lineup. We're pretty left-handed-dominant right now. He added that. He was a guy that hit the ball out of the ballpark and played a pretty good right field for us."
YOUK, TITO REUNION: It was like old home week when Kevin Youkilis and Terry Francona, now the Yankees' third baseman and the Indians' manager, respectively, came together in a fond embrace behind the batting cage before the game. The two former Red Sox were no doubt reminiscing about the 2004 ALCS.