Swisher knocks a pair of hits in return to game action

Veteran outfielder to start season on DL, will be with team on Opening Day

Swisher knocks a pair of hits in return to game action

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nick Swisher had trouble falling asleep on Tuesday night. After a spring spent on back fields and in Minor League games, the veteran was given the go-ahead to suit up with Cleveland for its Cactus League game against the Giants on Wednesday afternoon.

That news made for a restless night.

"That was kind of my biggest battle," Swisher said after his first official game of the spring. "I was so stoked. I couldn't sleep last night. I was like, 'Man, this is like a playoff game for me.'"

In his first Major League game since undergoing surgery on both knees in August, Swisher went 2-for-3 for the Indians in a 5-2 loss to San Francisco. Swisher served as the designated hitter for the Tribe and finished with a pair of singles, including one off Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner that drove in Cleveland's first run of the ballgame.

It is not immediately clear if the 34-year-old Swisher will play in another Cactus League game this spring, but Indians manager Terry Francona has noted that the veteran will be allowed to join the team in Houston for Monday's Opening Day tilt against the Astros. Swisher, who will open the season on the disabled list, will then return to Arizona to finish his rehab.

"All I really wanted to do was go out there and have some fun again, man," Swisher said. "I feel like it's been Groundhog's Day for me. It's like the same thing every day. So, to be able to come out here and actually be able to compete at this level was great. It raised my spirits a little bit, for sure."

Francona said that was another positive step forward for Swisher.

"I think it was really good to get him in a game," Francona said. "I think it was really good for him -- whether he got hits or not. It was nice to see him get on base a couple times. I think it's helpful to him. I think it probably gave him another little push in the right direction. I think he had fun and it makes it feel a little bit closer to the finish line."

Right now, though, the Indians do not know when the finish line for Swisher's comeback will arrive.

"I wish I could give you a timetable. I wish I could give you a day," Swisher said. "I'm just going to come back when I feel healthy. Do I feel like I could go and DH for this team and contribute right now? Sure, but that's not all I want to do. I want to make sure I'm able to go to the outfield. I want to make sure I'm able to go to first base and make sure all my movements are fluid and smooth."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.