NEW YORK -- In his final swing of batting practice, Nick Swisher hit a popup into the roof of the batting cage. After dejectedly tossing away his bat, he went to gather the loose balls strewn over the field. Then he got ready to rest for the second straight day.
Swisher, who had started 41 of the Yankees' first 44 games, sat out Monday's series opener against the Blue Jays. Chris Dickerson started in his place in right field.
For manager Joe Girardi, Swisher's struggles -- especially from the left side of the plate -- triggered the decision to give the right fielder an extended rest.
"His left-handed swing has been a struggle," Girardi said of the switch-hitter. "I figured it would be a good time to give him a couple of days to just take a deep breath. He's important to us."
Swisher is hitting .214 with a .330 on-base percentage and two home runs in 176 plate appearances. As a left-handed batter, those numbers drop to .170 with a .305 OBP, though both homers have come from that side of the plate.
"I don't know, I'm not really a numbers guy," Swisher said. "I don't really check it out. Obviously, left-handed I don't know if I'm doing that well. But hey, so what? I know I can hit left-handed, I've done it, I've proved it year in and year out. So I'm not really worried about it."
For his career, Swisher is a .251 hitter with a .356 OBP, but his power has been glaringly absent this season. The owner of a lifetime .462 slugging percentage, he has posted a .303 mark this season.
"Obviously, when you're struggling as a player, it bothers you," Girardi said. "I don't care who you are, it bothers you. His personality has been upbeat. For the most part, he's been the same guy, but I know it bothers him."
Swisher did nothing to hurt his reputation during a pregame meeting with reporters, but when asked if he agreed with Girardi's decision, he called the point moot.
"Not my call, man," he said. "I stand behind my manager. Sometimes, other people know what's best for you rather than you. I've kind of relaxed a little bit. Made sure I got all my stuff in, all my work in. [I'll] just take a couple of days and get back in there tomorrow."
With the Yankees set to face lefty Ricky Romero on Tuesday, Swisher will likely return to the lineup.
"I feel pretty good, man. I feel like I'm making good contact," Swisher said. "Like Yogi [Berra once] said, 'I'm not in a slump, I just ain't getting no hits.' I guess I should just take a page out of his book."
Granderson gets endorsement from Bautista
NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson has the second most homers in the Major Leagues, but he does not put himself in the same category as the leader, Jose Bautista.
Bautista thinks Granderson should.
"I know what he's saying when he [says he] doesn't consider himself a power hitter, because I was saying the same thing last year," said Bautista, who hit his 19th homer of the season off Bartolo Colon in the first inning of Monday's series opener. "But after you hit a certain amount of home runs, you can't help it. People are going to give you that treatment. Whether that means they're going to change the way they pitch to you or not is different. But he is a power hitter, and he might as well embrace it as soon as possible."
Granderson hit his 15th and 16th homers of the season on Saturday and Sunday against the Mets, and he is on pace for more than 57. After never hitting more than 16 home runs in a season, Bautista hit 54 last year to lead the Majors.
Granderson's 14 home runs during the final 46 games of 2010 suggest that he may be able to keep pace with his hot start to this season, which is 45 games young.
Since Aug. 14, Granderson has hit 30 homers, second to Bautista's 37. But Granderson, who grew up admiring Ken Griffey Jr.'s long-ball prowess, insists he does not look at himself as a 2011 version of Bautista.
"Would it be great to do that? Obviously," Granderson said. "But at the same time, that's the only consideration I would put into it, that as a kid you [think], 'Oh, I'd love to be like a Babe Ruth or a Hank Aaron or something like that.
"[That] would be the only thing, the 'big kid dream' kind of a deal. But other than that, that's about it."
Joba not available for Monday's opener vs. Jays
NEW YORK -- Manager Joe Girardi said that Joba Chamberlain is not available to pitch on Monday night against the Blue Jays after warming up on Sunday following two straight appearances.
Chamberlain tossed one inning each on Friday and Saturday against the Mets and was warming up during the Yankees' seven-run eighth inning on Sunday.
The right-hander has become the Yankees' eighth-inning man with Rafael Soriano on the disabled list.
Alex Rodriguez still has not had his hip examined. He had planned to undergo an exam on Friday but decided against it after feeling healthy. ... Eric Chavez, recovering from a bone bruise in his left foot, has not tried running. He may try to do that next week. ... Rafael Soriano, on the disabled list with elbow soreness, may throw off a mound before the homestand ends on Wednesday. ... The Yankees do not have a date for Phil Hughes to throw off a mound, but the right-hander may join the Yankees on their upcoming nine-game, 10-day road trip.
Thomas Boorstein is a reporter for MLB.com. Matt Fortuna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.