Indians first basemen, Nick Swisher, has played for a plethora of teams in his career. The Athletics, White Sox, and Yankees are all part of his resume. Well now he can write in that he was a member of the RubberDucks.
Swisher spent some time with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks on Tuesday night in his first rehab assignment since being placed on the disabled list for hyper-extending his left knee. Of course though, even when he’s on the disabled list, he’s still all smiles with an extremely positive attitude.
“I’m feeling good man, it was just nice to get out there and move around a little bit. I’ve been caged up for the last ten or eleven days. Just [felt good] being able to get out there and move around a little bit,” Swisher said.
In the bottom of the first inning, Swisher was batting third behind Tyler Naquin and Francisco Lindor. This was his first time hitting against an actual pitcher since being placed on the disabled list.
“First at bat man, it felt like the pitcher was about 100 feet away. I was like, man you’ve gotta bring it back a little bit.”
Swisher went on to strike out in his first at bat. He had a couple of good swings which was nice to see. Prior to being placed on the disabled list, Swisher had been struggling at the plate. On the season, Swisher is hitting .211/.312/.319 with only three homers and 19 RBI. The knee injury could be linked to his drop in power this season.
“This is baseball man, you’re not always going to feel good all the time,” Swisher said. “Everybody was battling through, I could have battled through as well. I just kind got to that point where I was like ‘Ya you gotta take a little break.’ It’s been nice man, to get everything feeling good again and getting healthy. I know the player I can be when I’m healthy.”
With his knees coming back to him, Swisher is relieved to be able to move his body with more ease, especially when he’s at the plate.
“It’s just nice to have your knees back underneath you.” Swisher said. “I feel like my swing is a lot more quick, a lot more direct. I just feel better, that’s it. I don’t know how else to say it. I just feel stronger.”
In Swisher’s second at bat, he hit a sharp liner to the shortstop. This was more or less a stroke of bad luck, but Swisher was just happy to be out on the field and not sitting in the dugout anymore.
“It was nice to move the body again, getting back into the game speed of things. We were out there playing some defense for a little bit this afternoon,” Swisher said. “You know, it was just nice to get those five innings, nice to get out there and move around, and get ready to come back here tomorrow. Get ready to go.”
In the fifth inning, Ronny Rodriguez bobbled a ball hit to him at third, but was able to recover. On his throw to first, it spiked the dirt and bounced away from Swisher. During the play, Swisher went almost into a complete split to try and scoop the ball. His knees seem to be back in shape.
“It felt great. I thought the ball was going to bounce up and make a great scoop on it, but it kind of just slid under my glove man. More than anything it’s just getting out there and going through the motions and making sure everything feels right. Everything feels good man,” Swisher explained.
Before this season, Swisher had never spent any time on the disabled list. Sitting on the bench, instead of being out playing with the team, is something that Swisher was not used to.
“Just getting my pom pom’s out man, just cheering away,” Swisher said. “This is my first stint on the DL so I don’t really know how this goes, but it’s boring. I know that!…Because being on the DL man there’s a lot of times where you don’t feel like you’re part of the team. You’re pretty much in the training room all day. If you’re doing any work it’s done at like noon or 1:00 so you’re done with all your stuff before everybody gets in. It’s definitely a different world.”
In his time down in Akron, Swisher was able to spend some time with some prospects that are going to be key members to future success of the Indians organization. Spending time with them on the field gave him a quick look at what the future could look like.
“I’ve had the opportunity with a guy like Lindor, how do you not like a guy like that man? He’s just infectious, he’s happy. Goes out and gives everything he’s got. There’s a lot of other studs too. You’ve got Joey Wendle out there at second base, Tyler out in there in the outfield. T-Money doing his thing. The future looks bright for us man,” Swisher said.
Of course he had some nice words for manager Dave Wallace as well.
“These guys are so quality. Wallie is just the JAM! He’s so great,” Swisher said.
With Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana also recently returning from the disabled list, Swisher is ready to follow suit and rejoin his team and find a way to contribute to the recent success that the Indians have had.
“I’m just stoaked man,” Swisher said. “It just feels like today was kind of my first game. I had butterflies, and I was ready to go. It just nice to get the work in today. Nice being here with these guys.”
The biggest bro in the 216 has now spent his time as a RubberDuck, and he was proud to be a part of the team. When asked about how he felt about being a RubberDuck, he was nothing but smiles.
“Hey man, I’m repping it! I’m owning it!”
Now he’s ready to return to his team that is awaiting his return. A healthy Swisher can lead to an even more successful Indians team. His veteran leadership, positive attitude, and solid pop in his bat can only benefit a team that is already as hot as they can be.
Swisher will play one more game on Wednesday with the RubberDucks and then will potentially rejoin the Indians on Thursday before the beginning of the series against the Red Sox.
He’s feeling good, he’s ready to go, and he’ll be back in the 216 soon man.