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.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.