Now that he's hitting, it's OK for Nick Swisher to be "Swish" -- the smiling, back-slapping switch-hitter who brings levity to the Yankees locker room.
But for most of the season, that wasn't the case. With his average hovering at or below .230 for much of the year, Swisher didn't think it was appropriate to be so happy-go-lucky.
"When you're down there around the .200s, with my personality, you can't be that," Swisher said.
But Swisher's been heating up lately. He's hitting .312 over his last 28 games since May 17, when his average was a season-low .204. Swisher's average is now up to .245 after a 1-for-4 day that included a home run off of Colorado starter Juan Nicasio in the fifth. It was the first of back-to-back blasts for the Yankees. Jorge Posada followed Swisher's with one of his own.
Afterward, Swisher said he felt like it was OK to be himself again.
"You can't be grounding out (and) laughing and smiling about stuff," Swisher said. "Then when you get a couple hits, you can start to be yourself again. And I feel like I'm getting back to myself."
Swisher has plenty of reasons to be "Swish" again. He's got seven homers in his last 26 games (since May 29) after hitting just two in his first 46. That's a stark drop-off for a guy who hit 29 last season.
Mark Teixeira says there’s been "a little more pep in (Swisher's) step" lately.
"When you see a guy like Swish struggle, we do everything we can to get him going but once he does, we know there's going to be lots more smiles, lots more joking around, which we love," Teixeira said. "We need that energy."
And Swisher's happy to provide it.
As far as his slump goes, Swisher used the words of the great Yogi Berra to describe it, which seemed plenty appropriate on Old-Timers' Day.
"Like Yogi said, 'I wasn't in a slump, I just wasn't getting any hits,'" Swisher said. "I feel like I'm back to myself. I'm more charismatic, I'm smiling all the time again. I feel like when I am that way … I'm playing my best."