Nick Swisher (hamstring) back in Yankees’ lineup Sunday

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From beat reporter Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record comes word that Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher is back in the starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Royals.

(Though the forecast looks nasty in Kansas City).

Swisher had missed six straight games because of a tweaked left hamstring. He is slated to serve as New York’s designated hitter on Sunday and should return to his usual spot in right field on Tuesday night.

The 31-year-old boasts a .284/.355/.617 batting line, six home runs, nine doubles and 23 RBI through 93 plate appearances this season for the fourth-place Bombers. DeWayne Wise drew the start in right field on Saturday and Andruw Jones played there Friday.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.