Braves outfielder Nick Swisher swatted a home run from both sides of the plate on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley field against the Cubs. Batting left-handed against starter Dan Haren in the second inning, he clubbed a home run to the opposite field to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. Then, in the fifth inning, he capped off a five-run frame when he drilled another two-run shot to left field against lefty reliever Travis Wood.
The Braves went on to lose 9-7 to the Cubs.
Swisher, 34, was traded by the Indians to the Braves along with outfielder Michael Bourn and cash in exchange for third baseman Chris Johnson. He entered play Saturday batting only .160 with one home run and four RBI in 28 plate appearances with his new team.
Watch Swisher’s two homers:
Indians infielder Chris Johnson was out of the lineup Saturday and Sunday due to what he thinks is a spider bite received while staying at the team hotel in Minnesota.
And he might have to miss more time, as the Associated Press reports that swelling in his hand forced Johnson to go to the hospital Sunday and begin antibiotic treatment.
Or as Johnson put it: “Whatever bit me, it got infected.”
Johnson was acquired from the Braves in the Nick Swisher/Michael Bourn undesirable contract swap two weeks ago and began his Indians career by going 9-for-21 (.429) with three doubles in six games.
The Indians have traded Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and cash to the Braves in exchange for third baseman Chris Johnson. Yahoo’s Tim Brown was the first to report that Swisher was likely on the move. Joel Sherman reported that Johnson was going back to Cleveland and that Bourn and money was included in the deal. The Indians just sent out a press release making the deal official.
It’s a classic exchange of some bad contracts and, for the Braves, making some room for a more desirable player.
Swisher, who will be owed $15 million next season, is on the disabled list. He has proven to be an exceptionally poor signing for the Indians, having hit .228/.311/.377 in 1,146 plate appearances since inking a four-year, $56 million prior to the 2013 season, becoming their highest paid player. Bourn’s deal has not been much better. He signed a $48 million deal prior to 2013, and will be owed $14 million in 2016 with a vesting option for 2017. He has hit .257/.315/.345 in 1,388 plate appearances.
Johnson is signed through 2017 with a 2018 club option. He’s guaranteed $7.5 million next year, $9 million in 2017 and a $1 million buyout (or $10 million in salary if the option is exercised) for 2018. He’s hit .283/.317/.396 since being acquired from the Diamondbacks in the Justin Upton deal before 2013. The Braves gave him an extension in May of last year which the current regime was likely not to pleased about.
So, the Indians lose their two biggest salary albatrosses and get Johnson. The Braves pick up a couple of reclamation projects — one of which, Bourn, played for them previously — and some cash relief to make gambles on them a bit more palatable. They also clear up third base for the newly acquired Hector Olivera who, while 30, is considered by the team to be the first offensive “building block” of their on-the-fly rebuild.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who missed five weeks with a wrist injury earlier this season before returning late last month, is headed back to the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle.
In between the DL stints Freeman played just 10 games, hitting .184, and based on the typical recovery timetable for oblique injuries he’s unlikely to be back in Atlanta’s lineup until September.
During his first absence the Braves turned primarily to Chris Johnson as the fill-in at first base, with Joey Terdoslavich also seeing some action there.
Overall this season Freeman has done his usual thing when healthy enough to play, hitting .284 with 14 homers and an .848 OPS in 76 games to basically match his .831 career OPS coming into the year.