By Sweeny Murti
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Less than two weeks until pitchers and catchers, and the rest of the players aren’t too far behind. While Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada will continue to be the centers of attention, Nick Swisher brings his swagger back for a third year in pinstripes.

Swisher spent a few minutes with reporters Tuesday night as he looked forward to the start of another season…

While spending most of his off-season in Los Angeles with his new bride Joanna Garcia of the hit show Better With You, Tuesday night Swisher was in New York to be honored at this year’s Thurman Munson Awards. The annual event benefits the AHRC New York City Foundation, raising over $10 million dollars over the past three decades to assist children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The dinner is presided over every year by Diana Munson, widow of the late Yankee Captain. Every year she marvels at how big the event has gotten and how New Yorkers never forget her late husband. In the spirit of Thurman Munson, these awards go to athletes who excel on the field and in the community.

The list of honorees this year included former All-Star Mike Piazza, basketball legend Julius “Dr. J.” Erving, Mets outfielder Angel Pagan, Nets guard Devin Harris, Olympic Champion Evan Lysaceck, and Swisher, the terminally outgoing outfielder of the Yankees.

Swisher displayed his normal array of charm and humility as he proudly accepted the honor….

Swisher now gets ready to follow up the best individual season of his career in 2010, when he hit .288 with 29 home runs and 89 RBIs, earning a spot on the AL All-Star team for the first time.

The Munson Dinner usually signals the end of the baseball banquet circuit, with spring training right around the corner. Careful plans are being made to ship items to Florida. While stopping by the Stadium this week I ran into Yogi Berra, who was getting ready to put his things onto the equipment truck headed south. There’s something just right about Yogi headed to Florida that makes you feel good about the start of baseball again.

Sweeny Murti

Are you looking forward to pitchers and catchers? Let us know in the comments below…

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