SEATTLE - At first, Nick Swisher thought the call might be a prank.
He received word from his agent Saturday morning that he has been invited to participate in Monday night's Home Run Derby.
"Never in a million years would I ever think I'd be asked," said Swisher, who hit his 15th homer off Felix Hernandez in the third inning last night.
Robinson Cano had been invited to participate and had accepted before pulling himself out at the request of Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman because of a back issue. Swisher, fully aware of the Yankees' reluctance to allow Cano to compete in the event, went through proper channels. "First person I called was Skip [Girardi], then K-Long and Cash, and they said it was cool," Swisher said.
Last week, hitting coach Kevin Long said his preference, injury or not, was that Cano not participate. He had said his worry with Cano was more about the fatigue involved with going deep into the event than any mechanical issues with his swing that might result from the competition, as mentioned by past participants. "It's the same concerns," Long said.
What about Swisher, then? Long said he received assurances from the switch hitter, who will bat lefthanded against bench coach Tony Peña, that he won't deviate from the swing the pair worked on during the offseason.
"He said he's going to use the 'Swish swing,' which I imagine is the swing he's been using all year," Long said. "He promised me he wouldn't add on or do some crazy stuff."
Jeter's last day off was June 19 against the Mets.
Johnson to see specialist
Nick Johnson, who suffered a setback while hitting in Tampa on Friday and returned to New York, will see hand specialist Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser today. He performed surgery on Johnson's right wrist in May.
"I have no idea when he's coming back,'' Girardi said, "and I have no idea if he'll come back."
Mitre getting close