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Swisher upbeat despite postseason slump

10/23/2009 10:16 PM ET
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK -- Nick Swisher had the same cocky grin he wore for much of the season when he walked into the New York Yankees' clubhouse Friday afternoon.

The way he sees it, the end of his postseason slump is right around the corner.

"One swing, back on track," he said.

Swisher went 0 for 5 in New York's 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in Game 5 of the American League championship series on Thursday night, including a game-ending popup on a full-count pitch from Brian Fuentes with the bases loaded.

The rough night dropped Swisher's postseason average to .103 (3 for 29) with 10 strikeouts, leaving manager Joe Girardi to ponder a lineup change for Saturday night's Game 6.

"We'll sleep on it and we'll make a decision what we're going to do," Girardi said. "Obviously he has struggled. But Swisher is a good player and Swisher has done a lot of good things for us this year."

Swisher is hitless in 11 at-bats since his leadoff single off Joe Saunders in the seventh inning of Game 2. The right fielder hasn't come up with an extra-base hit since his RBI double in the postseason opener against Minnesota.

Despite Swisher's skid, the Yankees carried a 3-2 series lead into Saturday night's game and can clinch their record 40th AL pennant with another victory.

"It's just one of those things where you want to do so well," Swisher said. "It just hasn't happened but it's all right because right now we're sitting 3-2. I mean we've got other guys on the team that are banging, driving in runs, picking us up. It's all right. We'll be where we need to get."

Swisher was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a five-player trade last November, bringing a fun-loving attitude to the traditionally staid Yankees clubhouse. He also delivered on the field, hitting 29 homers and driving in 82 runs for the AL East champs.

But the 28-year-old switch-hitter batted just .147 in his last 11 games of the regular season, and the difficult stretch has continued in the playoffs.

"The thing about a player is-at any point it can turn," Girardi said. "And you have to remember that the guys that have been successful during the course of the year have went through slumps."

Swisher had a couple of reasons to be optimistic heading into Game 6; a shipment of shiny new Louisville Slugger bats and a decent record against Saunders, the Angels' next starter. He has a .261 average with one homer and six RBIs in 23 career at-bats against the left-hander.

That was more than enough to keep the slugger smiling.

"This will turn around," he said. "I'm not worried about it."

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