Nick Swisher's frustrating and painful season is officially (and perhaps also mercifully) over after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on both knees Wednesday. The Cleveland Indians announced his status late Wednesday afternoon.
Swisher, 34, has been slowed by knee issues since May, leading to his least productive season in the big leagues. In 97 games, Swisher slashed .208/.278/.331, to go along with eight home runs and 42 RBIs. The average is his lowest in 11 seasons, and he was on pace to finish with fewer than 21 home runs for the first time since 2005.
The latter stat speaks to Swisher's consistency over the years, while making it clear that his bad wheels have been a major drain on his production.
Swisher was first placed on the DL on May 27 with a hyperextended left knee. He returned when eligible on June 12, but was given more time at designated hitter as a measure to protect his knees. He also played some outfield, which manager Terry Francona said Swisher preferred, with Carlos Santana becoming entrenched as the team's first baseman. Unfortunately, the wear and tear continued piling, while the production continued sinking, leading to Swisher being placed on the DL on Aug. 10, this time with soreness in his right knee.
Swisher ended up getting two opinions on his knees, and, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, both doctors recommended surgery on both knees.
After examining Swisher on Tuesday, Dr. ElAttrache agreed with Dr. Rick Parker's assessment (in Cleveland last week) that surgery was the most appropriate route. According to the Indians, Dr. ElAttrache determined that Swisher was suffering from chronic medial knee discomfort in both knees as a result of medial meniscus wear and tear.
Swisher is scheduled to begin rehabbing his knees on Friday.
Swisher has two years remaining on a four-year, $56 million contract signed prior to the 2013 season. He quickly became one of Cleveland's most popular players in his first season, hitting 22 homers and knocking in 63 runs as the Indians made the AL wild-card play-in game. Both Swisher and the Indians will hope for a bounce back to similar levels in 2015.
"I think he's going to be really motivated," Francona said. "Regardless of how much money you've made, guys want to be good players. He's going to have his work cut out for him this winter, but hopefully getting a head start on it is good."
He'll have his work cut out for him for sure, but as long as there's an ounce of energy in Swisher's body, you can safely believe it will be spent on him getting back on the field at one-hundred percent.
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