Nick Swisher spoke to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News about his excitement over rejoining the Yankees organization. “There’s no place I love more than New York,” said Swisher. “I think a lot of people know that. … I’m one of those lucky guys that gets an opportunity to come back and try to prove myself again.” Swisher also talked with Feinsand about the difficulty of dealing with significant knee injuries in recent seasons and the jarring feeling of getting a phone call to inform him of his release in Atlanta. The 34-year-old firmly believes he’s capable of contributing in the Majors again and looks forward to working his way back to a Yankees uniform. “To have the first phone call come from the Yankees, a place you think of as family, it was amazing,” said Swisher. “For this to happen during such a dark time, it makes you want to work that much harder, to train and play that much harder.”
Elsewhere in the AL East…
- The Orioles are among the clubs that hold interest in right-hander Kyle Lohse, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Baltimore’s 7-0 start to the season has drawn its fair share of headlines, but it’s worth noting that Ubaldo Jimenez is the only one of their starters to have topped five innings in an outing thus far. Bringing Lohse into the organization would provide the club with some veteran depth, although Lohse’s most recent work with the Brewers didn’t exactly inspire confidence that he’s still a quality big league option. The 37-year-old lost his rotation with the Brewers last season after recording a 6.31 ERA in 22 starts. Lohse did appear to turn it around somewhat upon his move to the bullpen, logging a 3.81 ERA in 28 1/3 innings of work.
- Chris Davis tells the Boston Herald’s Chris Mason that the Red Sox had interest in him over the winter before he re-signed in Baltimore. “I pretty much tried to stay out of it as much as I could and let my agent handle it, but I remember their name coming up a few times,” said Davis. “I don’t know how in depth they talked. I don’t know if it was just a feeler or what was going on.” As Mason notes, the immediate fit might not be optimal, but with Hanley Ramirez perhaps sliding to designated hitter next season following David Ortiz’s retirement, it’s easy enough to see how Davis could’ve fit into the club’s plans beyond the 2016 campaign.
- Never afraid to try something outside the box, the Rays have adopted the usage of virtual reality training for their hitters, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Rays batters have available to them a set of virtual reality goggles that allow them to stand at/near/behind the plate in the batting cage and watch a virtual simulation of that evening’s pitcher throwing to them. Steven Souza Jr. and Curt Casali both spoke very highly of the new tool, whereas Evan Longoria was optimistic about its benefits down the line but said he feels there’s room for improvement. “We’re looking forward to learning more about the technology and how it might benefit our players,” said Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman to Topkin. Topkin notes that the Rays aren’t the only club using the technology; the Pirates and “several” other teams have begun to experiment with it.
- Rays right-hander Alex Cobb and Chase Whitley each made 20 throws from halfway up the bullpen mound on Tuesday, Topkin writes in a separate piece. Each will throw again on Friday and next Tuesday before moving to the top of the mound late next week. Cobb noted that while the news isn’t exciting, he and Whitley both considered it to be a big day in their rehab. Both right-handers are making their way back from Tommy John surgery that was performed in May of last season.