Swisher baffled by homers on the road

Swisher baffled by homers on the road

BALTIMORE -- Maybe Nick Swisher really just loves eating meals off a room-service tray? It's as good an explanation as anyone has been able to come up with for his bizarre home run stats in 2009.

While the rest of the Yankees seem to have fallen in love with hitting for power at the new Yankee Stadium, Swisher has gone in the completely opposite direction. He now owns 23 homers in his first season with the Bombers, 20 of which have come away from the Bronx.

"I'm just trying to prove to everybody that hitting home runs in Yankee Stadium is not that easy," Swisher said, laughing.

Some of Swisher's most prodigious power work has come within the Baltimore city limits, which will be bittersweet for him as he reports for the Yankees' series finale on Wednesday at Camden Yards, where he has one more home run in 2009 than he does in his home ballpark.

Swisher pelted his 23rd round-tripper, a two-run shot, in the seventh inning on Tuesday off Chris Ray and now has homered in nine of his past 17 games with an official at-bat at Camden Yards. In 42 career games against the Orioles, Swisher has 15 homers and 35 RBIs.

"It's mind-boggling," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's hard to understand, but baseball sometimes is hard to understand. We've hit more home runs than any team on the road and Swish might be a big reason."

Swisher has been baffled for months by his apparent power outage at home, troubles which seem to vanish as soon as the team charter plane has its wheels leave the runway.

"I really have no clue," Swisher said. "It's just one of those things. I feel comfortable and a lot of my home runs have been going to center field and left-center. In Yankee Stadium, that's a long way.

"I don't know if I've got that in my bat. I think in general it's a mental thing. It's something I need to get over. Enough is enough, and hopefully September is my month to break out at Yankee Stadium."

Then again, the Yankees have homered in 105 of their 132 games this season, including 60 of 65 at home, so it is not necessarily crucial that Swisher crash that party.

With a Major League-most six players who have belted 20 or more home runs, things seem to be working just fine, whatever the explanation may be.

"I don't try to figure out anything with Swish," Girardi said.

Pitching matchup
NYY: LHP CC Sabathia (15-7, 3.56 ERA)
Sabathia didn't get a win his last time out on Aug. 28 against the White Sox, but he continued a string of excellent pitching that he will look to carry into the series finale at Baltimore. Sabathia has not lost since July 28, a span of six starts, over which he is 5-0 with a 2.64 ERA (13 earned runs in 44 1/3 innings). He allowed two runs on eight hits in his last start, a seven-inning outing that saw him strike out a season-high 10. Sabathia last faced the Orioles on May 8 at Camden Yards, throwing a complete game four-hit shutout in Alex Rodriguez's return from the disabled list.

BAL: RHP Jason Berken (4-11, 6.33 ERA)
Berken has won two straight starts since switching from a four-seam fastball to a two-seam sinker, and he said that he used the pitch predominantly in his most recent outing. The right-hander has begun to turn his season around, winning three of his past five decisions after suffering nine straight losses. Now, Berken has to keep throwing the two-seamer and finish strong in September.

Tidbits
The Yankees made five callups on Tuesday, promoting catcher Francisco Cervelli and infielder Ramiro Pena plus pitchers Mike Dunn, Mark Melancon and Edwar Ramirez. A sixth player, reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, had been considered, but he was struck in the eye by a thrown ball on Monday while playing catch with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The injury is not considered especially serious, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman did not want to promote a player who is unable to pitch. ... Outfielder Brett Gardner (left thumb) will take batting practice with the Yankees on Wednesday in Baltimore and could be cleared to begin a Minor League rehab assignment as soon as Thursday. ... The Yankees have scratched right-hander Sergio Mitre from his scheduled start on Thursday at Toronto and will pitch right-hander Chad Gaudin instead. Mitre was struck in the right forearm by a batted ball in his last start Saturday against the White Sox and the Yankees do not want to risk a further injury as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery. ... A Sept. 27 game between the Yankees and Red Sox was moved to 1 p.m. ET and will be carried on ESPN.

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On the Internet
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Up next
• Thursday: Yankees (Chad Gaudin, 5-10, 4.90) at Blue Jays (Ricky Romero, 11-6, 3.95), 7:07 p.m. ET
• Friday: Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, 8-4, 4.38) at Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 13-8, 3.13), 7:07 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 12-6, 4.03) at Blue Jays (TBD), 1:07 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.