Swisher arrives as guest instructor, A-Rod on deck
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Nick Swisher has arrived as a New York Yankees guest spring training instructor and Alex Rodriguez is on deck.
Swisher worked with outfielders Monday during his first day, which came three days after announcing his retirement as a player.
”I never have to worry about an 0 for 4 again,” Swisher said with a smile. ”It’s great to be back.”
A-Rod is set to make his initial appearance Tuesday.
”He’s going to work with our players,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. ”Dispense knowledge that he has about how to play the game when he talks to the young kids, some of the expectations about how to deal with it. All the things Alex did well.”
Rodriguez and Swisher were also guest instructors with the Yankees instructional league team last fall.
”The fact that he’s giving back to the game and is involved in the game, that doesn’t shock me,” Girardi said.
Rodriguez hit 696 home runs in a 22-year career that ended when he was released by the Yankees last August. Rodriguez had 351 of those over 12 seasons with New York.
Slowed by knee injuries the past several years, Swisher appeared in 76 games with Atlanta and Cleveland in 2014. The 36-year old slugger played in 55 games last season for the Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team, then ended his season in July when his second child was born.
Veteran left-hander Jon Niese joined the Yankees on Monday on a minor league deal and will compete for a spot in the bullpen.
Niese, coming back from left knee surgery in August, spent most of his nine-year career with the New York Mets.
”It was weird, kind of hectic,” Niese said about his offseason. ”I knew something was going to happen eventually.”
Niese threw off a mound four times while waiting to be signed.
POP FLY, POP UP
Yankees catchers had an entertaining session while working on fielding foul popups.
One drill had them on the ground, jump up and catch a ball shot out of a pitching machine. The workout ended when each catcher attempted to catch three pop fouls in quick succession after laying face down.
Non-roster players Kellin Deglan and Jorge Saez both grabbed all three of their foul balls. Starting catcher Gary Sanchez got the first two, but missed the third on a diving attempt.
OF Jacoby Ellsbury, excused for the birth of his child, is due in camp Tuesday. … 1B Greg Bird, who missed all of last season following shoulder surgery, homered off Giovanny Gallegos in a simulated game. … RF Aaron Judge hit a pair of balls hard during the simulated game. … Minor league LHP Justus Sheffield displayed an impressive changeup during live batting practice.