Yanks could bench struggling Swisher

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Nick Swisher is scuffling. So much that Joe Girardi is “sleeping on” the idea of benching him for Game 6 against the Angels.

“We’ll sleep on it, and we’ll make a decision what we’re going to
do,” Girardi said Friday. “But Swisher is a good player and Swisher has
done a lot of good things for us this year. And you look at the matchup
against [Angels Game 6 starter Joe] Saunders — he’s had some hits off
of Saunders.

“It’s not just one guy necessarily that you think about,” Girardi
said. “You think about where you might put the parts. Do you flip-flop
guys? I don’t ever really rush into decisions, because the one thing
about the playoffs is you usually have a lot of time to think about it.”

Swisher is just 3-for-29 (.103) with
ten strikeouts during the postseason. He had a chance to play hero
against Brian Fuentes with the bases loaded and two out on Thursday,
but weakly flew out to shallow center field to force a Game 6. While
Swisher has been unproductive, you might be surprised to learn that
Mark Teixeira is batting just .171 (6-for-35) with nine strikeouts
during the postseason. And he’s certainly not sitting.

Swisher has enjoyed modest
success against Game 6 starter Joe Saunders, going 5-for-21 (.238) with
four walks, one home run and six RBI. If Girardi decides to bench him,
don’t be surprised to see him go with Jerry Hairston Jr., not Brett
Gardner, since he is right-handed. While Hairston would be the better
matchup against the southpaw, he hasn’t started a game in right field
since being acquired from the Reds in July. Not the ideal time for an experiment.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
AP Images
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.