It had been a long time coming for Jordan Swagerty–as in four years since the last time he recorded a save for his team like he did Monday for the Springfield Cardinals. Bone spurs, Tommy John surgery, a nerve issue in his elbow, and then more bone spurs kept the former 2nd round pick (2010) of the St. Louis Cardinals rehabbing instead of relieving for most of the past four seasons.

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“When you’re sitting down in Jupiter, Florida in rehab for a few years you kind of start thinking about the next time you’ll get an opportunity and get to pick up a save, since that’s one thing I really enjoyed doing back when I was healthy,” said Swagerty. “It was just a good moment and I was glad I got to spend it with my team and everybody was real happy for me.”

Through all the setbacks, Swagerty never thought of giving up and finding a career other than baseball.

“I’ve never let that be my mindset,” he said. “It’s always been let’s get over this hump and continue moving forward. Easier said than done, obviously. When you’ve figure out you’ve been out two years and now you’re coming up on another surgery, it definitely gets you down. But I think if you keep the right mindset, you keep a positive outlook on life, it builds character and it brings you into the person that you’re becoming.”

The turning point in his comeback came earlier this Spring, as he cleared what previously had been roadblocks.

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“Once I got into games and I rebounded after a game,” said Swagerty. “That’s one thing that coming through multiple surgeries is always difficult, is rebounding after you get off the mound. A lot of times I could make it through bullpens fine and I felt good. Then getting to ramp it up a little bit and ran into issues. I got through all my bullpens, got through live BP, I got in a game–and after that game I  still felt good and was able to do it again. That’s when I realized, I’ve taken a step further than I have in years past and we could be on the right path.”

And now healthy, he’s been contributing at Springfield and the velocity has climbed back into the mid-90s. Plus, Swagerty shares  he’s actually got some new movement on pitches to go with his slider and curveball.

“I think about every time I’m on the mound, I throw a pitch and think I don’t know where that came from,” chuckled Swagerty. “My range of motion’s not the same it used to be. My arm action is not the exact same, so the ball does different things. Come to find out, it moves more how my arm is now than what it used to be. So it is a little different out there because I’ll throw a ball that I used to feel like was a strike, but now it moves out of the zone. Which isn’t a bad thing when you learn to control your movement. But there’s definitely times I’ll throw a pitch and think I have no idea where that came from, but I like it.”

Swagerty (1-0, 1 save) has pitched one inning in three appearances for Springfield this season, allowing a combined four hits, two earned runs on solo homers, with two walks and a strikeout.

 

 

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