Nick Swisher clowns around on Atlanta Braves photo day at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2016.
By Brendan Kuty
DETROIT — Don’t expect a Nick Swisher sighting in the Bronx any time soon.
Manager Joe Girardi detailed the Yankees’ plan for the 35-year-old after their 8-4 win over the Tigers at Comerica Park on Saturday.
Girardi said Swisher will working out, presumably at the club’s training facility in Tampa, Fla., before heading straight to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The club said early Saturday it planned to sign him to a minor-league deal. He worked out Saturday in Tampa.
The team will look at him as an outfielder and first baseman, Girardi said.
It might be a while before Swisher sniffs the Big Apple, where he turned into an unexpected star from 2009 through 2012. Over that span, Swisher hit .268 and averaged 26 homers and 87 RBI in left field.
“For us, he’s played the outfield and first base, mostly the outfield for us when he was here,” Girardi said. “I think he has to make sure that he’s right and he gets going before you start talking about him. But when he was here, he was extremely productive and loved playing here.”
But after three down years — the Braves just cut him and ate his $15-million salary for 2016 — and arthroscopic surgeries on both knees, it’s likely Swisher’s future lies at first base.
That’s where the Yankees need him. While reserve outfielder Aaron Hicks can take over in case of injury to any of the Yankees’ often hurt outfielders, Dustin Ackley has been Mark Teixeira’s main backup at first base. Though Ackley played the position in college, he’s shaky there, as the Yankees saw when he misplayed two throws in Friday’s loss to the Tigers.
Girardi said the signing wasn’t in reaction to Ackley’s rough performance.
“No, no, no, no, no,” he said. “We believe in having depth in our organization. Swish was a good player and has been a good player for a long time. So if one of our guys was to go down, we wouldn’t’ necessarily have a true first baseman. Swish is a guy who could do that or he could play the outfield.”
Except that the way Girardi described Swisher is exactly the role Ackley’s playing right now, which can’t be good for the 28-year-old.