Swisher, Yanks nearing Minor League deal

Veteran working out at spring complex, will provide depth at 1B, OF and DH

Swisher, Yanks nearing Minor League deal

DETROIT -- The Yankees are welcoming a familiar face back into the fold, having invited Nick Swisher -- a member of their 2009 World Series-winning roster -- to work out at the team's complex in Tampa as he prepares to sign a Minor League deal.

Swisher, 35, will provide the Yankees with a depth option at first base, in the outfield and at designated hitter. He was unconditionally released in March by the Braves, who assumed the remaining $15 million on Swisher's contract.

The Associated Press reported that Swisher, 35, took batting practice and worked out at first base for team officials Saturday.

"The fact they let me come out here and work is great," Swisher said. "It keeps me in the game, keeps me going strong, and I appreciate that. This place is like family."

Swisher is expected to join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre shortly. He will be able to opt out of his Minor League deal if he is not promoted to the Majors by June 15, according to the New York Daily News.

Swisher's unassisted double play

"I know he is going to start working out, and he's going to join the Triple-A club," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For us, he's played the outfield and first base, mostly the outfield for us when he was here. I think he has to make sure that he's ready and gets going before you start talking about him, but when he was here, he was extremely productive and loved playing here."

It would be difficult for Swisher to fit on the current roster unless there was an injury. Mark Teixeira is slotted as the starting first baseman and Girardi said that the Yankees are comfortable with Dustin Ackley as his backup, though Ackley's relative inexperience showed with two misplays at first Friday.

The Yankees planned to have Greg Bird as their regular Triple-A first baseman, but Bird was lost to a season-ending injury, prompting New York to sign Chris Parmelee to a Minor League deal in February. Girardi said that the Swisher signing was not a reaction to Ackley's performance Friday.

"We believe in having depth in our organization," Girardi said. "Swish was a good player and has been a good player for a long time, so if one of our guys was to go down, we don't necessarily have a true first baseman. Swish is a guy that could do that, or he could play the outfield."

Swisher's acrobatic play

Since undergoing surgery on both knees in August 2014, Swisher has seen a decline in his mobility, limiting how well he could impact an outfield mix in which Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Hicks all move well, with Hicks expected to replace Carlos Beltran defensively in right field late in games.

Swisher played for New York from 2009-12, batting .268/.367/.483 with 105 home runs and 349 RBIs in 598 games. He left as a free agent after the 2012 season, signing a four-year, $56 million deal with the Indians.

He has hit .204/.291/.326 since the start of the 2014 season, and Atlanta tried unsuccessfully to trade him this spring. Swisher is a career .249 hitter over 12 seasons with the Athletics, White Sox, Yankees, Indians and Braves.

"I still feel like I can do this," Swisher said.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.