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.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.