First hit since return allows Swisher to relax

Indians outfielder getting up to speed after missing start of season

First hit since return allows Swisher to relax

KANSAS CITY -- Nick Swisher saw four pitches before getting the fastball he wanted in the second inning of Wednesday night's 10-3 win. The veteran Indians outfielder turned on the heater from Royals lefty Danny Duffy, pulled it through the infield and watched it bounce into left field for a single.

It marked Swisher's first hit in the Majors in nine months, and with it came a sense of relief.

"Just to get that first one out of the way," Swisher said, "you're like, 'Oh, man. Thank God.' After that, you can just kind of start to roll."

The 34-year-old Swisher was out of the starting lineup on Thursday in Kansas City after playing in each of the first two games of the three-game set at Kauffman Stadium. He was activated from the disabled list prior to Tuesday's game following a long comeback from the August surgery he underwent to repair damage in both of his knees.

Playing under the bright lights in the big leagues and facing Major League pitching is much different than getting reps on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus in Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y. In his first game back with the Tribe on Tuesday, Swisher went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, including one to end the game on a 98-mph fastball from Kansas City's Wade Davis.

Davis locks down the save

"You've got to remember, I really didn't have much of a Spring Training," Swisher said. "As much as I try to keep my emotions within me, which is sometimes hard to do, the game speed was fast that first game. ... Next thing you know, I'm facing [Ryan] Madson and Wade Davis, who are just blowing salt pellets. So I'm thinking to myself, 'OK, all right. I better start turning it up a little bit more."

Swisher singled and scored against Duffy in his first at-bat on Wednesday -- the designated hitter's first big league hit since Aug. 9 last season -- but went on to finish 1-for-5. The veteran switch-hitter liked, however, that he put the ball in play in each plate appearance and made solid contact a handful of times.

"It's just so much fun being back out there with the guys," Swisher said. "I know I haven't gotten a whole lot of hits, but I'm getting back into it. I put some great swings on some balls [on Wednesday]. Those things will start falling."

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.