When Cashman first traded for Nick Swisher, my reaction was: “WHY?” He was batting like .211, was supposed to be our first baseman and sometime outfielder and was not particularly proficient at either position, and he had the look and demeanor of a non-Yankee.
I figured I’d get tired of his clownish act and, in spite of the fact that I wouldn’t miss Wilson Betemit, I kept questioning Cashman’s wisdom in making the trade. But then we got Tex, so Swisher wouldn’t be playing first base after all and giving me nightmares of Giambi. And then he kept having impressive at bats, working counts, hitting with power. And when he pitched that game at the Trop and seemed to take such joy from being able to help out the pen, I could see what a good teammate he was.
When he came to spring training this year in such great shape, determined to boost his average and be more serious about his work, I was doubly impressed. It’s not everyday that a player actually tries to grow and change, and Swisher has done that. As we anticipate the series in Baltimore this weekend, it’s Swisher who hits so well at Camden Yards, Swisher whose bat I want in the lineup in the #2 spot, Swisher who gives us a credible right fielder, Swisher whose injury needs to heal – and fast. (I’m really hoping the cortisone shot did its thing).
As I said at the top, I never expected to like him as much as I do – or count on him for the Yankees’ success. But it happened. I’m in his corner. I have his back.
Or is this all about how much I don’t like Austin Kearns?