TUCSON, Ariz. – Is Nick Swisher a good enough addition to the lineup to make up 20 games in the standings by himself?
One thing has become very evident, however, dude’s a gamer. Flat-out. By the end of the season, I predict his popularity with White Sox fans will reach Aaron Rowand –status.
First of all, he had a chat with manager Ozzie Guillen before Tuesday’s eventual 7-6 win over the Angels, just to let his manager know that three-consecutive Cactus League losses were unacceptable. I repeat – Cactus League losses.
“That’s what we bring him here for,’’ Guillen said of Swisher after the game. “He’s a real good baseball player. He knows about his job, and he’s the type of guy we need on the field and off the field. He keeps everyone loose, but in the meanwhile, a lot of people misunderstand him because he’s a goofy-loosey guy. When the game is on the line, he’s all about business.’’
So what did Swisher do to help break this huge Cactus League losing streak? He opted to play all nine innings, and then gets the game-winning hit with his walk-off double.
“Joey [Cora] asked me if I wanted to finish the game out,’’ Swisher explained. “It was the top of the 8th, so I said, ‘Sure, why not, I’m already here.’ It ended up being for the best I guess. I’ve got a lot of energy, I need to burn some off.’’
As far as his popularity with his teammates, he has already been passing out “Dirty 30’’ T-Shirts – he is wearing No. 30 so do the math – and Guillen said he was “pushing’’ the younger players late in the game in the comeback against the Angels.
And just wait until Sox fans see some of the antics he has planned for home runs. Without giving away too much, keep an eye on the dugout after Swisher goes deep this season. The handshake dances he has been working on with several teammates will be instant classics.