Cleveland Indians DH/OF Nick Swisher isn’t known for his speed. Which is good, because his surgically repaired knees didn’t necessarily change that. The good news is that his progress at the plate is coming along, and he faced live pitching on Saturday morning for the first time since last August.
More from Away Back Gone
- Cleveland Guardians tantalizingly close to locking up AL Central tiebreakers
- Cleveland Guardians: Terry Francona becomes meme in profanity-laced ejection
- Say goodbye to defensive shifts and hello to bigger bases, pitch clock in 2023
- Cleveland Guardians: Shane Bieber second-fastest to 800 strikeouts in major-league history
- The next week will make or break the Cleveland Guardians’ season
Whether or not Swisher is ready for Opening Day is yet to be seen, and this early in camp, manager Terry Francona isn’t going to push it anymore than he needs to. There are no “deadlines”. When Swish is ready, that’s the deadline.
"“I’ve tried really hard not to rate it day by day,” Francona said. “That’s not the right message we want to send. We told him the first day, ‘Hey, when you’re ready, that’s what we’re going to go on.’ I know he’s been really diligent with it and when he’s ready, he’s ready. We’ll know. We get updates every day, but we’ll know.”"
Swisher’s BP sessions in the cage had been going well, as the slugger was using the whole field, keeping himself under control. His opposition in his first live pitching session? Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar.
"“Two flamethrowers right out of the gate,” Swisher said with a laugh. “The first few days, we get used to tracking and taking a swing every now and then. Just for me, to get back on the field, it’s nice.”"
A healthy Swisher will be a key to the Indians success this season. For that reason, his progress in his running program is of no concern at this point. At this point, his running is still restricted. He’s allowed to do walking, and supervised sprints/jogging.
On Thursday, Swisher could be seen jogging wearing a brace on each knee. He was not graceful, and it didn’t look comfortable. But again, it’s his stick the Indians are concerned about, not his wheels. Once he returns to game action – which they hope could be mid-march – they won’t need him tearing up the base paths, just knocking in runs.
For now, a little bit of jogging, a little more hitting.
“It feels good,” Swisher said. “[I’ll] just keep working.”
Sounds like a good plan.