Infielder Phelps optioned to Triple-A Columbus to open roster space
BOSTON -- It does not take much to get Nick Swisher excited. On a normal day, the first baseman can be heard from any corner of the Indians' clubhouse and his energy level is the rough equivalent of a dozen kids in a candy shop.
Leave it to a baby girl to find a way to increase Swisher's enthusiasm.
On Friday, Swisher was back with the Indians and beaming after returning from a three-day hiatus to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter Emerson Jay. Cleveland activated him from Major League Baseball's paternity list and optioned infielder Cord Phelps to Triple-A Columbus to free Swisher's spot on the roster.
"She is the cutest thing ever, man," Swisher said. "It's crazy, because this game has been my whole life. When that little thing popped out, I didn't know I could love something that much. She don't even know me yet."
Swisher and his wife JoAnna welcomed their first child into the world on Tuesday.
The baby weighed roughly seven pounds, and Cleveland's first baseman immediately began thinking ahead to ballet practice and dating. First, though, came the moment when the doctor delivered his daughter and handed her to Swisher's wife.
"In that two seconds it took to take her out and put her on her chest, man," Swisher said, "I was crying so much. It was just like this huge wave of emotion just came through and I'm sitting there, looking at her, and the tears were coming, just cruising out."
Swisher joked that he hopes he now has "dad strength."
That made manager Terry Francona chuckle.
"I think he's in a good place," Francona said on Friday with a smile. "He's thrilled, as he should be, and we're thrilled to have him back. It's good. He came here early and hit today a little bit, just to make sure he's good to go. It's nice to have him back."
Swisher missed the past three games, during which Cleveland dropped a pair of home games to Detroit before heading to Boston and routing the Red Sox, 12-3, on Thursday night.
"We watched all three games," Swisher said. "We've been swinging the bats -- all three games. We just didn't keep their runs down against Detroit. For having two rain delays [on Wednesday night], showing up here in Boston at [4 a.m. ET], the way the boys came out [Thursday] night playing, I was so proud of them."
In 40 games, Swisher has hit .274 with six home runs, 12 doubles and 16 RBIs in his first season with the Indians. Over the offseason, Cleveland signed Swisher to a four-year contract worth $56 million.