Ron Washington fine with Nick Swisher
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said he doubts any other New York Yankee would have uttered such statements, but he has no problem with outfielder Nick Swisher boldly voicing his desire to face Cliff Lee in a Game 7.
"That's Swisher. He's a tough competitor," Washington said Friday during his pregame press conference. "He's not afraid to say what he feels and I have nothing against him saying what he feels."
On Thursday, Swisher was agitated by reporters asking teammates a couple of lockers down about going against Lee in a possible Game 7. The Yankees first had to face Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis in Friday night's Game 6. So Swisher interjected.
"You guys are talking about Cliff Lee?" Swisher said out loud in a room full of reporters. "[Expletive], who cares?" As Swisher walked off, he said, "I can't wait to hit against his [behind]."
Swisher somewhat broke out of an awful postseason slump in Game 5 with a home run. He has just two hits in 19 at-bats in the ALCS. In Game 3 against Lee, Swisher went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
"I think if I was sitting in his shoes and I had to face Cliff Lee, I'd probably feel the same way," Washington said. "But, you know the game is not played with words; it's played between the lines. And, if he can back it up, I'll pat him on the back."
When Swisher was asked Thursday about voicing his opinion with reporters around, he interrupted the question at the mention of "Cliff Lee" and said he was done talking about the Rangers' ace. Lee beat the Yankees twice in the 2009 World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies and again in Game 3 of the ALCS.
"He's always had the heart of a champion and he's playing in an organization that is champions," Washington said. "You know, he's probably the only one that would probably come out and say something like that on that team. But, if he believes that, I have no problem with it."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi simply said he hopes Swisher is right and that the Yankees, down 3-2 to the Rangers, get the chance to see Lee again.
"I hope we do get a chance to face Cliff Lee [Saturday]. Because that would be a good thing," Girardi said. "We were talking about Game 3 [Lee's first start] before we even started the series. And the one thing is we didn't talk about Game 7 and Game 4, Game 5 and Game 6 ... Swish in a sense is right. We hope we do get to face him because that means there's a Game 7."
Jeff Caplan is a reporter and columnist for ESPNDallas.com.