Cleveland Indians: Will Nick Swisher bounce back?
Nick Swisher was the big signing that helped trumpet the Indians return to relevance in 2013. Since the signing, the outfielder has seen his health decline rapidly. His aching knees forced him to undergo surgery last August, and he will play with two knee braces this season.
Swisher is still on a limited running program, but has been cleared to hit and throw. Running will come later this spring, but he expects to be ready for Opening Day. The condition of his knees limited Swisher to only 97 games last season in which he batted only .208.
The Indians may never get the return on investment they expected when they signed Swisher to a $56 million contract. He looks healthy and worked hard to lose 15 pounds to take stress off his knees. Swisher does offer good leadership and a positive attitude to the Indians clubhouse, so he can provide value that way, especially after the retirement of Jason Giambi. If Swisher is able to even approach the 25 home run level, the Indians offense will receive a massive shot in the arm. His All-Star days are behind him, but he can still be a valuable asset to the Indians as a leader and designated hitter if his knees allow.