Nick Swisher knows he isn't going to go the whole season without hitting a home run. But the Yankee rightfielder admitted before Wednesday night's game against the White Sox that he is struggling with the fact that he hasn't hit a homer since Oct. 3.
"It's kind of uncharted waters for me and maybe I'm handling it the wrong way," said Swisher, who has gone homerless in 21 games and 72 at-bats this season. "This past week, a homer's really, really been in the back of my mind. I've tried really hard to make it happen. Obviously, it's not working."
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Swisher had 29 home runs last season, with his final one coming in the final game of the regular season. This is by far his longest homerless streak to start the season. His previous longest homerless streak was in 2007 when he went 11 games and 45 at-bats before hitting his first one. He finished that season with 22.
"I thought he hit the ball really well in Baltimore and really had nothing to show for it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before the game. "I think you can look at his plate appearances, and maybe he had nine or 10 in those two games, and probably he hit the ball hard six times. Could that bother him a little? Yeah, sure it could because this is a guy that's used to hitting the ball in the seats."
Before yesterday's game, Swisher put some extra time in on the field with hitting coach Kevin Long.
"We put a bucket in between his legs so that he couldn't get too big with his leg kick," Long said. "Just simplifying it. We did it in the cages and he wanted to do it on the field so we did. One of those seed buckets. It basically kept him centered."
Swisher went 0-for-3 last night to drop his average to .208. Though he hasn't been seeing a lot of fastballs, he said he believes that part of his problem at this point is mental.
"I think I've been trying to generate more power and that's when I get into trouble," Swisher said. "I think I've complicated my swing, put some stuff in there that doesn't need to be there. But mostly, I think I have to calm my mind a bit and just chill out."
Girardi knows that it is only a matter of time before Swisher sends one into the stands.
"They're going to come," Girardi said. "I would tell Swish, his home runs are going to come. And if you try to do it, that's when you get into trouble. He's hit some balls hard. He just hasn't had a whole lot of luck."
Swisher believes the only way he can change his luck is just to keep swinging.
Said Swisher: "I just have to take as many swings as I can until I get blisters out the gazoo," he said. "For me, I feel good. My mind is in a good spot for what has happened. I just have to keep going out there."