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Swisher returns to camp from mother's funeral

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Nick Swisher was back in camp with the Indians on Sunday morning, launching a string of batting-practice home runs and joking around with teammates. The first baseman was happy to be back at camp, given his trying week.

Swisher's mother, Lillian Marie Malizia, passed away from leukemia at the age of 63 on Monday.

"It's nice to get around the guys, man. It takes your mind off stuff," said Swisher, who spent the past couple of days in Columbus, Ohio, to attend funeral services. "It's nice to go back home and see everybody. It's such a bad time.

"It's just nice to be back here doing what I love, just getting back in my routine."

Swisher said this was his mom's second battle with leukemia.

"She was tough for the first one," he said.

Indians manager Terry Francona was willing to give Swisher as much time as he needed, but the first baseman returned to the team in time for Sunday's morning workout. Francona said it was good to see Swisher on the field and smiling.

"I didn't even want to call to check and see when he was coming back," Francona said. "You've got to take care of what you've got to take care of. But there's a little different vibe when he's around, and I mean that in a really positive way."

Cleveland signed the 32-year-old Swisher over the winter to a four-year contract worth $56 million. The deal includes a vesting option worth $14 million for 2017. Last season, the first baseman hit .272 with 24 home runs, 36 doubles and 93 RBIs in 148 games for the Yankees.

Swisher said he was excited to turn his focus back to baseball.

"The last thing I want to do is bring any more attention to this situation than what has to be," Swisher said. "It was nice. It was good to go home. The service was beautiful. We've just got to move on. We've got to do our grieving and just move on."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.