To some extent, everyone knows Nick Swisher. The guy wears his personality for everyone to see. It’s easy to tell when he’s happy — which is most of the time — and it’s easy to tell when he’s frustrated.
Lately, at the plate, he’s been frustrated.
“Maybe I’m handling it in the wrong way,” he said. “But I think the past couple of days I’ve really, really been in that cage trying to get that feel back.”
Swisher is hitting .208 with only two extra-base hits, neither of which is a home run. He’s walked once and struck out seven times in the past four games. When he starts trying to force himself to break out of something like this, “that’s when I suck,” he said.
“This past week, that homer’s really, really been in the back of my mind,” Swisher said. “And I think I’ve tried really hard and a lot harder to try to make that happen. Obviously that’s not working. I’ve got to go back to that mindset of just trying to get base hits, and then the next thing you know, you start getting a little more extension and the home runs come. A lot more games left to play, man.”
It’s easy for an athlete to tell himself to relax, and it’s even easier for an outsider to tell him to relax, but players start pressing when they get off to a slow start. It happens. Swisher seems to have been pressing the past week or so.
The past two days, he’s been on the field with Kevin Long for early batting practice. Yesterday, even though there was a left-handed starter going against the Yankees, he was working on his left-handed swing because that’s given him the most trouble (he’s actually hitting .458 right-handed). If you listen to the audio below, you’ll notice that Swisher doesn’t sound like a guy who’s still tense. He sounds more like a guy who’s working and waiting to break out of it.
Swisher said he’s talked to his father and Long quite a bit in the past few days.
“They both said it’s one swing away,” he said. “And then the next thing, everything kind of clicks in.”
Associated Press photo