- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Nick Swisher is back in the lineup for the first time in more than a week, as he'll be the designated hitter and bat fifth Sunday night against the Red Sox. The right fielder, who is battling a strained left hip flexor, pinch-hit on Saturday and was last in the starting lineup on July 20.
(Swisher went 2-for-4 in the Yankees' 3-2 loss, with a pair of singles and two strikeouts.)
"It's exciting," Swisher said. "I'm the type of guy that I'm not a big fan of missing games, so whenever I can be back in there doing what I can to help the team, I want to be in there."
Swisher missed six straight games with this injury. He had hoped to return to the lineup Saturday, but manager Joe Girardi opted to give him an extra day of rest. Swisher suffered the injury while trying to beat out a grounder in the seventh inning of a 3-2 loss to Oakland.
Girardi said he wanted to ease Swisher back into things, and wants to see how he comes out of this game before making any determinations on when Swisher will be back in the field, although he said it could be as early as Monday against Baltimore. Swisher said his hip feels "great" and he hopes to keep feeling better.
"I think anytime you're dealing with strains and things like that, I think you're on that fence of whether it can be a week or it could be, if you play through it, maybe two, three, four weeks," Swisher said. "I appreciate the fact these guys are looking out for me. They want me for the long run. But on the other side I want to get back in there, I want to do my thing. I love playing this game so any time I get a chance to get in there I'm enjoying it."
Swisher has battled injuries to his lower half all season, including groin injuries during spring training and a left hamstring issue in April and May. He also missed a few games in June after suffering a quad contusion. His manager understands the injuries are piling up.
"You do have some concerns that the two (injuries) in spring training and this one were in the same area," Girardi said. "You try to do everything you can to protect him in that situation."
Swisher believes the bumps and bruises, which haven't forced him onto the disabled list, may be the result of changing his offseason workouts. He said he needs to do more stretching and perhaps receive massages to make sure his muscles are ready to go.
Swisher is batting .257 with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs in 86 games.
"I came in here ready to go. Injuries are part of the season. For myself, I've been a pretty healthy guy, I've played a lot of games and I take a lot of pride in that," Swisher said. "So when I get knocked down for a week, it feels like a month. I just have to be smart and from here on out, just take care of my body that much more. Take care of the temple."