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The Nick Swisher Chronicles: When a First Baseman Is Your Best Reliever

Stephen MeyerDeputy MLB EditorApril 14, 2009

The Yankees struggled through one of the worst beatdowns in recent memory at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.


Starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang looked as discombobulated and frustrated as a frequent viewer of ABC's hit show Lost.


The disaster hit its nadir when first baseman Nick Swisher toed the mound at Tropicana Field.


In an inning that became both surprising and disconcerting, Swisher performed admirably.


The pitching novice did not allow any runs to score. Meanwhile, his teammates paid to perform the craft were allowing 15.


Swisher even managed to strike out a hitter and posted a strike-to-ball ratio identical to that of the team's starting pitcher.


After also launching his third home run of the early season, Swisher has proven to be a true "jack of all trades."


The Yankees have not seen a hitter with this much pitching talent since Babe Ruth was acquired from the hated Red Sox (note: soaked in sarcasm).

Perhaps Swisher can replace the struggling Phil Coke in the Yankees bullpen, ensuring that two dependable lefties remain at Joe Girardi's disposal.

Imagine all of the possibilities during interleague games played in National League stadiums. Swisher could pitch and bat about lengthening a lineup.

In all seriousness, the Yankees need to figure out what is wrong mechanically or structurally with Wang and others.

They need to make sure that an already overused bullpen can avoid exhaustion before flowers begin to sprout back in New York City.

All signs point to coincidental and common early season hiccups, but things better improve quickly before impatient whispers turn into roars.

After all, Swisher is likely to be unavailable out of the bullpen tonight.

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