Sometimes it’s hard to choose just one. Nick Swisher had the big home run in the second inning, then he had the big throw to the plate in the sixth. Surely one of those meat more than the other, but on this night, there was no reason to pick just one.
“I’ll take them both,” Swisher said.
The outfield assist was Swisher’s fifth of the season. The home run was his fifth in the past 13 games (since the day Derek Jeter went on the disabled list).
This is the new Swisher, same as the old Swisher we saw last season. He’s been productive on the field and laughing it up in the clubhouse, even laughing at himself after Russell Martin gave him the baseball that he threw to the plate, telling him he should keep it because he doesn’t make a throw like that very often.
“I took the ball, I really did,” Swisher said.
For whatever reason, there seemed to be a lot of talk tonight about the people Swisher’s been talking to. It started with Swisher telling the story of his conversation with Martin, and that led to the story of his conversations with Dave Robertson and Boone Logan, who have worked with him on improving his throws from right field. Joe Girardi said Swisher’s at his best when he short-arms the ball, throwing more like a catcher without creating a long, loopy arm motion. Swisher said he’s at his best because Robertson and Logan have told him to get out in front a little more and not be so wild with his mechanics.
“I’m trying to take a little more pride in the defensive end of things,” he said. “I’ve always just kind of played defense so I can hit, but now I’m trying to take pride in all aspects of the game.”
Eventually, Mark Teixeira was talking about his conversations with Swisher. If anyone on this team knows what it’s like to be a switch hitter off to a slow start, it’s Teixeira, and he tried to talk Swisher through those early season struggles. Swisher is now is hitting .320 with eight homers since May 27.
“Me and him talked a lot because of my bad starts,” Teixeira said. “And I just said, ‘Hey man, you’ve done it for a long time. Just keep doing what you doing.’ As long as you’re physically alright, just ride it out because it’s going to turn, and it did… Power hitters go through a lot of slumps, and then having to do it from both sides of the plate to start a season, when you’ve been sitting around for six months, it’s just not easy to do so we can get in some bad slumps as switch hitters.”
Here’s Swisher. Talking.
• Freddy Garcia was cruising along tonight, getting in and out of some trouble to pitch another good game for the Yankees. He’d thrown only 76 pitches, but because the Yankees four-run sixth took so long, he wasn’t sent back out for the seventh inning. “I was throwing strikes,” Garcia said. “I gave up like eight hits, but they’re aggressive. They don’t let you pitch, but I was able to make a good pitch.”
• Garcia is 7-6 with a 3.28 ERA. This from a guy who didn’t even have a guaranteed job in spring training. “I was glad to get the chance to start the games,” he said. “I got a shot in spring training to be one of the starters and that’s my job to go and try and do the best that I can do when I’m pitching. And I was able to do that so far.”
• Zack Greinke has a 6.45 ERA in 11 games against the Yankees. He hit the first batter, then the Brewers made a defensive mistake, and the Yankees pounced. By the time Swisher homered in the second inning, it was a 7-0 lead and Greinke’s night was finished before the third. “If he gets on a roll, who knows?” Teixeira said. “Good pitchers, it’s nice to get them early because you don’t know if you’re going to have any more opportunities.”
• The Yankees actually hadn’t seen Greinke since 2008.
• Each Yankees starter reached base tonight and all but Brett Gardner — who reached twice — had a hit. They stole four bases tonight, their fifth game with at least four steals this season. They had three such games all of last year.
• Weird stat of the night: Elias says this is the first time since 1951 that the Yankees won a game by at least 10 runs while also being out-hit.
• Curtis Granderson had his team-leading seventh triple, matching his total for last season (though it was really a mistake by Nyjer Morgan).
• Granderson had his right calf lightly wrapped after the game. He fouled a ball off that leg, but said it’s not a big deal and shouldn’t bother him tomorrow.
• Teixeira has homered in three-straight games and now has a team-high 24 for the season. This is the fourth time this season that he’s homered in four straight games. He now has 299 career homers.
• Jorge Posada has a hit in 12 of his past 13 starts, dating back to June 5. He’s hitting .388 in games he’s starting during that stretch.
• Dave Robertson didn’t pitch tonight, but his name somehow came up in Girardi’s postgame press conference: “To me he’s an all-star,” Girardi said. “There’s no doubt about it.”
• Girardi will greet fans entering Yankee Stadium through the Great Hall tomorrow at 5 p.m.
Associated Press photos