Yankees right-fielder Nick Swisher, benched for the last two games in which the Yankees faced a right-handed starter, was back in the lineup Friday night against the Seattle Mariners despite the presence of right-handed phenom Michael Pineda on the mound. But Joe Girardi acknowledged that if Swisher doesn't improve his performance from the left side of the plate -- he entered Friday batting just .170 as a lefty and .204 overall -- Chris Dickerson could be a viable alternative.
"You could look at platoon situation,'' Girardi said. "But my hope is, let's get him going.''
Girardi said Swisher, who hit .288 with 29 homers last season and is in the final year of his Yankees contract, might be feeling some frustration at the plate, although he says he hasn't seen any sign of it yet.
"It's only human nature,'' Girardi said. "But he's seemed like the same guy to me.''
But in the clubhouse before the game, Swisher seemed less than his usual happy-go-lucky self.
"I just feel like I'm talking about the same stuff every day, you know?'' Swisher said. "I'm doing everything I can, man, I'm battling, taking my extra BPs, grinding it out. I don't know what else to do, what else to say. It's cool, but it's like it's always brought back up to me. Hey man, I've got to handle this on my own, and when I get over this, I'll be glad.''
Swisher said regular conversations with his dad, former catcher Steve Swisher -- a career .216 hitter with just 20 home runs in nine big-league seasons -- have helped him deal with the most prolonged season-starting slump of his career.
"He said, 'You've done it for two months, man, I did it for a long time,'' Swisher said. "It’s so much easier to listen to people who've been there, done that, than anyone who's never been there at all because they don't know what I’m going through. For me, it's more on the mental side than anything.''
Swisher was among a small group of Yankees who took extra batting practice before the game, but says he has no plans to alter his swing or change his approach at the plate. "I looked at Carl Crawford the other day: He had two great games and went from .210 to .245,'' Swisher said. "That sounds like a good plan to me.''