Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Swisher does it all Tuesday night
Presented with two great options, Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher won't decide.
On one hand, he could have his home run and four RBIs. On the other, Swisher can choose his great assist to cut down a runner at home plate during Tuesday night's 12-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
"I'm going to take both of them," Swisher joked. "Is 'C' an answer?"
Swisher continued his hot play with a great night at the plate and a stellar defensive play as he helped guide the Yankees to their third straight win on Tuesday. Swisher's four RBIs matched his season high, which he accomplished three times prior.
"I feel good," Swisher said. "There's not really much mechanically I feel like I'm doing anything differently. I just think that attitude and that inner thought process I have right now is right where it needs to be."
Ever since dropping to a season-low .204 on May 27, Swisher is batting .320 with eight home runs, raising his overall season average to .249. He has homered five times in his past 13 games and eight times in his past 27 games, after hitting just two in his first 46 contests.
With two men on and two outs in the second, and the Yankees leading 4-0, Swisher barely cleared the right-field wall with a home run that landed in the front row, just to the left of the scoreboard implanted in the wall. His 10th home run gave the Yankees a 7-0 lead. Swisher later added an RBI double to the left-center gap to plate Ramiro Pena and boost the Yankees' lead to 12-2.
"I don't feel like I'm doing anything different," Swisher said. "I just feel like myself and (hitting coach Kevin Long) put in some serious work and know we're just reaping the benefits."
While Swisher's resurgence at the plate is helping the Yankees lineup, the right fielder seems to be more pleased with his defensive play after notching his fifth outfield assist of the year. Swisher said he is priding himself more on his defensive play now, compared to earlier in his career, when he said he was just playing defense so he could hit.
In the sixth, with the Yankees leading 7-2, Swisher threw out Corey Hart at home to end the inning after the Brewers right fielder tried to score from second on a single to right. Swisher's throw beat Hart by several steps -- the play wasn't even close, earning some playful jabbing from Yankees catcher Russell Martin.
"He told me, 'Man you want the ball because it doesn't happen very often.' I took the ball, I really did," Swisher said. "In that situation, I'm trying to throw a strike home. I missed the cutoff man the time before. I just want to do my best, try to keep the ball down, got a good skip and when you put it into those mini-clamps Russ has for hands it's not going anywhere."
As Swisher rounds into form in the field, both at the plate and in the outfield, his manager and his teammates are pleased to see him overcome his bad slump that plagued the beginning of his season.
"I just think his patience has been great. He started off really well and then got into a little funk, I believe, because of being frustrated," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The balls that he was hitting hard weren't hits. And I think he got frustrated and started trying to do too much. He's been taking a great approach, using the whole field, and he's being patient."