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Friday, April 13, 2012
Swisher's big hit propels Yankees to win


Seeing an old teammate back in town fired up Nick Swisher on Friday.

After watching former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada throw out the ceremonial first pitch, Swisher cleared the bases in the bottom of the first inning with a long double that ignited the Yankees to a 5-0 win against the Angels.

"The power of Jorge Posada today, fellas," Swisher said. "Such a great day and to be able to acknowledge him for all the things he's done for baseball and for this organization and for this city. It was just nice to be up in the spotlight like that and be able to come through and put us up on the board early and then (Hiroki) Kuroda and the boys took care of the rest."

Posada, the former Yankees catcher, retired in the offseason and the team brought him back for the ceremonial first pitch before Friday's home opener. After Posada threw out the pitch, Swisher and all the other starters individually congratulated Posada on the mound. The outfielder spoke admiringly about Posada, who won five titles with the team.

Swisher carried his momentum from Wednesday's game against Baltimore to the team's home opener. His go-ahead two-run homer in the 10th inning powered the Yankees to the sweep over the Orioles Wednesday. Friday, his double gave the Yankees all the offense they would need, putting the team up 3-0 after his ball just got over the head of Peter Bourjos in center.

Swisher went 2-for-4 on the day, adding a single in the eighth, to raise his average to .250. He leads the team with nine RBIs, with five coming in the last two games.

"In a situation like that, you got a team that a lot of people think, you know, pretty good squad, and to be able to be up 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning definitely puts a little momentum on our side," Swisher said.

In the last year of his contract, Swisher entered this season with the mindset of preventing a repeat of last year's "stressful" season. The outfielder batted .260 with 23 home runs and 85 RBIs, his fewest homers as a Yankee, and his averaged was stuck in the low .200s in June. He also struggled in the playoffs, hitting 4-for-19 with one homer in the ALDS loss against Detroit.

This season, he's determined to have fun when he's playing the game, forgetting about the stress. So far, as he's helped the Yankees win their fourth straight game after losing the first three of the year, Swisher is certainly having plenty of fun. Especially with an old friend around.

"He does so much for this game and this organization," Swisher said of Posada. "The tributes they played for him between innings, it kind of gives you Goosebumps a little bit because he's what a true Yankee is and you just want to try to follow in the footsteps of a guy like that."