PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Michael Schwimer had spent 2011 getting just about everybody out in the International League for the Phillies’ AAA squad, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, while waiting for his shot at the Major Leagues. The Phillies have had to dip into that “Pig Pen” for fresh arms several times this season, but they had never asked for Schwimer.
Finally, last week, that changed, when he got the news he had waited to hear since being drafted by the Phillies in the 14th round in 2008.
“(Lehigh Valley pitching coach) Rod Nichols called me into the office at Lehigh and it was (Iron Pigs manager Ryne) Sandberg, (Phillies assistant GM) Chuck LaMar, Rod, and (Phillies minor league pitching coordinator) Gorman Heimueller,” Schwimer recalls, “and Chuck LaMar asked me if I knew how to drive to Philly. I said, ‘Yep.’ And he said, ‘You’re going.’ I was so happy, hugging everybody. Called my parents and stuff. It was a really great time.”
So how long did it take for the news to feel “real” to him?
“We’re going on about seven days right now,” Schwimer tells KYW Newsradio. “It hasn’t been real yet. Every day I wake up and pinch myself still.”
Hear Matt Leon’s interview full with Michael Schwimer in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
Schwimer, 25, made his second appearance out of the Phillies’ bullpen in yesterday’s 7-4 loss to the Mets (see related story), allowing a run in an inning of work.
He made his Major League debut last Sunday in Washington, pitching three effective innings — bouncing back nicely after allowing a home run to the first batter he saw as a big leaguer. He would strike out four of the next eight hitters he faced, and allow just one more hit.
Schwimer was a late-inning guy for the Iron Pigs prior to his call-up, doing a lot of closing (10 saves). But he says having to extend his workload to three innings in middle relief was not a big issue.
“I’ve done three innings, I think, two or three times already this year. A few times last year. It is something that I can do — I’ve done. I went four innings this year. Doesn’t phase me, doesn’t bother me. I just love pitching. However long they want to keep me out there is great by me. As long as I’m pitching, I’m happy.”
Schwimer put together a 1.88 ERA in 46 games for the Iron Pigs, to go along with a nifty 9-1 record and 86 strikeouts in 67 innings.
What has allowed him to get this far?
“Just being able to mix all three pitches — fast ball, slider, and changeup — real well. Both inside and outside at any count has been really the key for me. Keeping hitters off balance, that goes along with what has really been my key to success this year.”
And he hopes he can continue to have success — in Philadelphia.
Schwimer and the Phillies open a three-game series with the Marlins on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060