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Swisher confident despite adversity

Swisher confident despite adversity

NEW YORK -- Don't tell Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher that he is 0-for-25 with runners in scoring position and batting .202 during his postseason career.

After the Yankees' 7-2 victory over the Rangers in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday, a game in which he went 1-for-4 including a solo homer off left-hander C.J. Wilson, Swisher made it clear that he doesn't care about individual stats.

"I don't feel bad," Swisher said. "I felt I had a great game today. I struck the ball well four times. It's not much more you can do that that. The postseason is another season in itself.

"To be part of this team and this organization, representing New York, the city itself, it's a great feeling. You don't feel like you are out of the game. I think that feeling is from the guys who have been here before. It's all about winning. Nobody checks the stat sheet in the morning and find out what an individual did. I bought into that. I want to win. After last year and tasting that champagne, you want to taste some more."

The "guys" Swisher is referring to are the Core Four -- Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. Before being acquired from the White Sox during the offseason of 2008, Swisher acknowledged that he was an emotional guy who thought about himself.

Being around the Core Four taught Swisher that wining was all that matters. He said that his improved attitude is the reason he considers 2010 his best year at the plate. In 150 games, he hit .288 with 29 home runs and 89 RBIs.

"It was huge," Swisher said about the Core Four helping him this season. "They help me grow up. During the regular season, I had the best season of my career -- so far. I feel great about that. I feel I put in a lot of work this offseason, not necessarily on the physical end. It was more on the mental end, the emotional side of things. Everyone knows I'm a pretty emotional guy. Sometimes I need to learn to keep that in check a little bit. They have helped me out with that."

Swisher has been on an even keel, even though he has struggled in the ALCS this year. He is 2-for-19 in five games against Texas. With the Yankees down 3-2 in the series, Swisher realizes that he has to get his bat going to help the Yankees win their second straight pennant.

"[Timely hitting] is the one thing that has been eluding us a little bit," Swisher said. "But today was a great game and a confidence builder. We are down 3-2, but in here, we feel pretty good. It was a great game for us today. It was a great total team effort. We were able to get a lot of hits by a lot of different guys. We hit the long ball a little bit."

Swisher declined to say how the Yankees will fare in the next two games, but he knew one thing for certain: Lack of effort won't be the problem.

"We are going to the ballpark and giving everything we have," he said. "If we go out and give everything we have, it's easy for us to sleep at night."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also can be found on twitter -- @washingnats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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