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Manager Joe Girardi sticking with Nick Swisher

The Yankees outfielder has been in a slump, hitting .103 with one run batted in and 10 strikeouts in 29 postseason at-bats. He was in the lineup for the postponed Game 6.

October 25, 2009|Kevin Baxter

NEW YORK — Yankees Manager Joe Girardi is sticking with outfielder Nick Swisher for the American League Championship Series despite a slump in which he has hit .103 with one run batted in and 10 strikeouts in 29 postseason at-bats. And Swisher, who was in the lineup for Game 6 before it was postponed by rain, is appreciative of his manager's confidence.

"We've had some talks in the past couple of days," Swisher said in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse. "Obviously I know it's not going exactly the way I wanted it to. But you've got to keep battling. You've got to keep grinding."

Swisher had a similar slump in May, when he went hit .094 with 16 strikeouts in 32 at-bats but "no one seemed to care," he said.

"It's at that point now where it's on the biggest stage," he said. "The postseason in New York, there's no better place to play. And you want to go out there and you want to do so well. Maybe I'm just pressing a little too much."

Pettitte ready to go

Andy Pettitte was one of the few Yankees to take the field Saturday, throwing for a while in shallow right field, then running sprints on the muddy warning track before the rain drove him for cover in the clubhouse.

He never got near the mound, however, which is really where he wanted to be. Scheduled to pitch Game 6, Pettitte said the extra day off is not necessarily welcome. In fact, he hasn't pitched with his regular four days between starts since August.

"I've been having a lot of rest, which is very unusual. Especially in the postseason," Pettitte said. "Obviously I'm getting older and it's probably great for me. But when I was younger, that would really set me back."

Bridge to nowhere

Phil Hughes proved to be a dependable setup man for closer Mariano Rivera during the regular season, winning five games and saving three while posting a 1.40 earned-run average in 44 relief appearances. That gave Girardi a sturdy bridge between his starters and his Hall of Fame-bound closer.

But it's been a different story in the playoffs, where Hughes has given up three runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. And Joba Chamberlain, expected to handle the seventh inning for the Yankees in the postseason, has allowed a run and seven hits while getting just eight outs.

In the two games the Yankees have lost this postseason, the bullpen gave up the winning runs. And Rivera said the two young right-handers -- Chamberlain is 24, Hughes 23 -- may also be pressing as well.

"You just have to trust your stuff," he said. "It's the same game that you're playing. I know it's a little different, the playoffs, but you still have to throw the ball over the plate and on the corners and get people out.

"I will do what I have to do to make sure that they feel comfortable. But the rest is in their hands."


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