First Pitch: Hamilton for the Yankees 2013 outfield?

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
7:00
AM ET
Surely, you josh.

That was the response I got Monday when I asked a baseball source familiar with what the Yankees look for in a player these days if they might be interested in Josh Hamilton as a replacement for Nick Swisher if and when the Texas Rangers slugging outfielder becomes a free agent next winter.

"No way,'' the source said. "Too great a risk.''

The problem, of course, is Hamilton's ongoing struggle with alcohol; he had a relapse this off-season. That, and Hamilton's comments, since clarified, that he doesn't "feel like I owe the Rangers'' are indications that "His demons are still tormenting him,'' said the source.

"That doesn't mean someone in the organization won't argue to make a bid for him,'' the source said. "But he's not the type of player the Yankees are looking for these days. Not worth the risk.''

Swisher, heading into the walk year of his contract, came to camp slimmed down and muscled up. He admitted his rigorous off-season had everything to do with his looming free agency. He said he would not ask the Yankees to consider a contract extension during the season. Despite professing "love'' for the organization, it is clear Swisher is hoping to have a big year mainly to position himself to cash in on the market next winter.

The question for you to ponder: In the event he becomes a free-agent, should the Yankees put aside their reservations and take a chance on Josh Hamilton? Or go the safe route and stick with Swisher?

On-Deck Circle: The clubhouse opens at a most-civilized 9:10 a.m. this morning. Boone Logan and David Robertson will throw early BP. New acquisition David Aardsma is expected to arrive in camp -- he was given a locker next to Derek Jeter -- and although he was placed on the 60-day disabled list, will continue his rehab from Tommy John surgery in camp, so we'll get a look at him. Plus, I'll be feeding the blog all day long, because it's always hungry. So check in early and often.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146