NEW YORK -- As unthinkable as this might have seemed a few weeks ago, the New York Yankees and Nick Swisher might be headed to a second go-round after all. Swisher, a member of the Yankees 2009 championship team who hit rough times after signing a four-year, $56 million contract with the Cleveland Indians in 2012 and was cut by the Atlanta Braves in spring training, has been knocking the cover off the ball in his first four games with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate.
Swisher, a former outfielder who is now a first baseman, went 2-for-3, including a home run, Monday against former big-leaguer Drew Hutchison. In four games, Swisher is 4-for-14 (.429) with an OPS of 1.185. The Yankees signed him to a minor-league contract April 13, a low-risk/potentially high-reward deal since the bulk of his 2016 salary -- $15 million -- is being paid by the Indians and Braves. The Yankees view Swisher as possible insurance for Mark Teixeira, who has been injury-prone the last couple of years. Currently, Dustin Ackley is the backup first baseman. Also, the backup third baseman and the fifth outfielder.
In his pregame presser Tuesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi made it clear that he is keeping tabs on Swisher's performance in Scranton.
“I don’t know about when I expect to see him in the Bronx, but obviously he’s being evaluated by our scouts, our Triple-A coaches and our minor-league organization on a daily basis," Girardi said. "He had a good day yesterday again. I pay attention to what guys are doing. He faced Hutchison yesterday -- a big-league pitcher -- and he did some damage. He’s swinging the bat good. We talk about always wanting depth; let’s just see where it goes. But he’s swung the bat well.”
Since leaving the Yankees for free agency, Swisher has batted .224 with 36 home runs over three seasons with the Indians and Braves.