LOS ANGELES -- The Indians' current road trip has taken the club to a pair of National League venues, eliminating the designated hitter from the lineup. As a result, it has been the slumping Nick Swisher who has become the odd-man out for Cleveland.
For Monday's Interleague tilt against the Dodgers, Swisher was once again on the Tribe's bench, following a two-day hiatus from the starting lineup last week in Arizona. Originally signed to a long-term deal to be the Indians' cleanup hitter, the 33-year-old Swisher has found himself fighting for at-bats at times in his second season with the club.
"This year has been a crazy year," Swisher said on Monday. "I've been dealing with some bad luck, dealing with some adversity, dealing with some injuries. It's all kind of come up at once. It's the first time in 11 years I've gone through something like this. So, it's uncharted waters for me.
"I'm just trying to be the best teammate, trying to get my work in and go from there."
Heading into this three-game series with Los Angeles, Swisher has posted a disappointing .193/.284/.318 slash line through 63 games and 233 at-bats. Since returning from the 15-day disabled list, following a bout with a left knee inury, the first baseman has hit just .125 (6-for-48) with five extra-base hits and 21 strikeouts against two walks.
Indians manager Terry Francona has used Swisher primarily as a DH since the first baseman came off the DL.
"It's hard. We don't have a DH [in NL parks]. I wish we did," Francona said on Monday. "I don't know what we're going to do the next two days, but tonight he'll be ready to pinch-hit and we'll go from there. I'm just glad we didn't play in back-to-back [Interleague road] series. Then, you go six or seven days without having the DH. That's hard."
Swisher dealt with an early-season slump last year, but turned in a strong September to end the year batting .246 with 22 home runs, 27 doubles and 63 RBIs in 145 games for Cleveland. Swisher is waiting for a similar hot streak to help him regain his regular place in the lineup.
"Hey, man, this is one of those years," Swisher said with a shrug. "It's been a crazy first 200-something at-bats. I'm just looking forward to the rest of them."