"We were adamant all along that, regardless of how we were playing, we wanted to do what was right by Swish," Francona said. "I think we kind of held to that, even when it wasn't really easy. We talked to him multiple times [on Sunday], and he was adamant that he is ready to go and ready to help us."
The Indians' original plan was to have Swisher continue his Minor League rehab assignment this week before being activated on Friday, when the Tribe opens a three-game series against the Twins at home. After talking things over with the 34-year-old veteran, Cleveland decided that three more days of Minor League games was not going to make a drastic difference.
Cleveland's front office, medical staff and coaching staff monitored Swisher's progress closely during his six-game rehab stint with Triple-A Columbus.
"I've watched his videos of every move he's made in the last 10 days," Francona said. "The one thing is his intensity has been off the charts. There's still a little bit of [room for improvement with his] first step and decelerating, but I'm not sure that three days would make a big difference, because we were going to call him up after [the series against] Kansas City."
Francona said he was still weighing his options for when and how to add Swisher back to the batting order. It is possible the manager could wait until Wednesday in Kansas City to insert the switch-hitter in the lineup (likely in the sixth or seventh spot) as the designated hitter. Swisher might be used primarily as a DH until Cleveland is more confident he is at full strength with his running.
In 24 Minor League at-bats during his rehab assignment, Swisher went 9-for-24 (.375) with one home run, two doubles, three walks and five RBIs for Columbus. He split his time as a right fielder and DH, making a handful of plays that tested his legs in the outfield.
"He's pretty healthy," Francona said. "He ran into a wall and some things like that -- things that probably wouldn't happen if he wasn't really that healthy. ... He was so enthusiastic and adamant about it that I think Chris and I were like, 'You know what? This guy has worked hard. Let's go ahead and activate him.'"
In 97 games last season, Swisher hit .208 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs in the worst offensive season of his career. His season officially ended on Aug. 20, when he had arthroscopic surgery on both knees performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.
"The injury was worse than what I thought," Swisher said last week. "I thought this would be something I could bounce right back from, just like I have [for] every other little injury I've had."
Prior to 2014, Swisher had at least 20 home runs in nine consecutive seasons and appeared in at least 145 games in eight straight years. After signing a four-year, $56 million contract with the Indians prior to 2013 -- the largest free-agent pact in franchise history -- he hit .246 with 22 homers, 27 doubles, 63 RBIs and 77 walks in 145 games, helping the Tribe reach the American League Wild Card Game.