Swisher to take frustrations out with bat

Swisher to take frustrations out with bat

CHICAGO -- Even when things seemed to be at their worst for the White Sox this season, Nick Swisher always maintained his upbeat, media-friendly attitude.

But at the back end of a tumultuous 10-game road trip -- including three games in Minnesota that Swisher didn't start -- the 27-year-old switch-hitter was not his usual self. He didn't talk to the media and seemed particularly frustrated with himself.

When the club returned home on Friday to open a three-game series against the Indians, Swisher took a minute to discuss that frustration with the media. The swagger that had defined his personality throughout the season was noticeably absent.

"I was just frustrated because I wanted to be out there," said Swisher, who had two pinch-hit appearances over three games at the Metrodome, where the White Sox were swept into second place. "I'm a competitor; I'm a fighter and I want to be out there doing the best I can to help the team win. I was down, there's no doubt about that.

"But I talked to some people and got everything squared away. Tonight's the night. I'm back in the lineup, I got a ton of energy right now. Hopefully I can go out and use it the right way."

Swisher was called out on strikes in the ninth inning Thursday, but replays confirmed that he checked his swing on what would have been ball four.

The call certainly bothered Swisher, whose first year with the White Sox hasn't gone quite how he envisioned it. But one bad call was not the difference in the game, he said.

"I think, in general, you can't look at one at-bat during that game," Swisher said. "We lost three games, there's no doubt about that. We didn't play well. We didn't do the things we know we're capable of doing. We didn't play our type of game."

Batting .167 in September and just .220 on the season, Swisher was sidelined in favor of Dewayne Wise and Jerry Owens in left field. The decision wasn't a difficult one for manager Ozzie Guillen, who felt those players gave the team its best chance to win.

Whether Swisher was upset about the decision or not was of no interest to Guillen.

"I don't care if Swisher is happy or not," Guillen said. "I don't blame my players to be upset when they're not playing. But the rules in baseball -- I can only play nine guys. I can't play 10. It's not a softball team. I'm going to play the guys I think are the best guys on the field. And I don't see him unhappy because he didn't say anything to me.

"But if you knock [on my] door, be careful. Because I'm Judge Judy. I will say something you don't want to hear. And I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but in the meanwhile, they don't care about my feelings. Why should I care about theirs? That's the way I am and if they have any questions, I'm here and they can ask me anything they want.

"I played the game," Guillen continued. "When your manager doesn't play you, you've got to look yourself in the mirror and ask, 'Why are you not playing me?' If you play well, you'll be in the lineup. Don't blame coaches and managers when you're not playing. Look yourself in the mirror and say, 'Wow. That's the reason I'm not playing.' That's it. That's an easy thing to do."

As far as Swisher is concerned, only three games matter at this point. With the team's back against the wall in a do-or-die series against Cleveland, Swisher is going to put the Minnesota series -- and his personal frustration -- behind him.

"I'm just going to keep being the same guy," Swisher said. "It was frustrating, but sometimes that's going to happen."

David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.