Bronx crowd playful despite long inning
Bleacher fans call for Swisher as Yankees' bullpen falters
NEW YORK -- If the Bleacher Creatures had their way, Nick Swisher might have been manager Joe Girardi's next call to the bullpen during the inaugural game at the new Yankee Stadium.
The soft underbelly of New York's bullpen struggled as the Cleveland Indians batted around for a nine-run seventh inning on Thursday, with chants of "We want Swisher!" breaking out among the paid crowd of 48,271.
Swisher -- who pitched a scoreless eighth inning of relief in a blowout loss on Monday against the Rays at Tropicana Field -- was spotted by television cameras stifling a grin as he fielded his position in right field.
"At that point in time, I was so locked into the game and just wanted to get that final out," Swisher said. "It didn't seem like it could come quick enough. I guess you could say it was kind of funny, but the outcome of the game was definitely not funny."
The game headed into the seventh tied at 1, but right-hander Jose Veras issued a leadoff walk to Mark DeRosa and a double to Victor Martinez. Jhonny Peralta followed with a double that scooted into the right-field corner, chasing both runners home and putting the Yankees in a two-run hole.
Damaso Marte relieved and threw to third base on a sacrifice bunt -- too late to catch the runner -- and then surrendered an RBI single to Kelly Shoppach and a bases-loaded walk to No. 9 hitter Trevor Crowe. Grady Sizemore hit the Stadium's first grand slam, belting it into the short porch in right field, and Martinez tacked on a solo home run to complete the barrage.
"I was just sitting there," Swisher said. "I didn't know what to say. That's all right. We're not always going to have it. It was a tough loss, but it's baseball and a 162-game schedule. There's another game tomorrow. It's extremely early."
Swisher's scoreless inning on Monday included a swinging strikeout of the Rays' Gabe Kapler, throwing only four-seam fastballs clocked in the 70-80 mph range. Swisher said that it was his first pitching appearance since his freshman year of high school. Swisher also received a loud ovation during the Yankees' pregame introductions.
"Everyone loves Swish," Mark Teixeira said. "I remember the first time I met him, I was playing first base with the Rangers and he was a rookie with Oakland. I was like, 'Man, this is a funny kid.' He's a great guy and a great player. He's really good for this team."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.