Nick Swisher hit .249 in 150 games with the Yankees last season, but his patience at the plate and skills in the field make him a valuable contributor for the team.
Despite his low batting average, Swisher hit 29 home runs and drew 97 walks in 2009. Swisher’s plate discipline and power made him a difficult out for opposing pitchers last season.
The first baseman/outfielder is happy to be wearing pinstripes.
"I've been bouncing around from team to team the last couple of years, but, knock on wood, hopefully I've found a home," Swisher told MLB.com. "I really feel honored to be part of this tradition."
After a frustrating postseason, Swisher started working with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long in December to get ready for the season.
"To Swish's credit, he wanted to get it right, and he wanted to start early," Long told MLB.com. "He's a man on a mission. I think the playoffs opened up his eyes to how pitchers can throw offspeed pitches over and over again to expose you. He was ready to take another step forward.”
Swisher adds versatility to the Yankees in both the infield and outfield. Swisher has been a capable first baseman in the past, and played 20 games in the infield last season.
The veteran gives the Yankees outfield depth along with Curtis Granderson, Randy Winn and Brett Gardner. All four outfielders have played multiple outfield positions in their major league careers.
Manager Joe Girardi recognizes Swisher’s skills, but all four outfielders will see the field this season.
"The thing is, everyone's going to play," Girardi told MLB.com. "That's the bottom line.”