Swarzak excited to help out Twins
Right-hander will make his first Major League start Saturday
CHICAGO -- After five years in the Minor Leagues, right-hander Anthony Swarzak got "the call" Wednesday, and he was at U.S. Cellular Field to join the Twins as they closed out a three-game series against the White Sox on Thursday.
"I was just hanging out in my hotel room, it was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon yesterday," Swarzak said of the call. "The [Triple-A Rochester] trainer, Tony Leo, called me and said, 'Stay there, pack your stuff. You're going up.' Words can't describe the feeling. You try to prepare yourself for that your entire life, and there's no preparing for that moment."
Swarzak will fill the spot in the rotation left by the injured Glen Perkins and make his first Major League start Saturday against Milwaukee. Swarzak was 3-4 with a 2.25 ERA at Triple-A Rochester this season.
The right-hander gave up just three runs in his first three starts and found himself 0-3 thanks to minimal offensive support. Swarzak went on to win his next three starts, having allowed no more than three runs against an opponent. He also struck out 32 batters in 44 innings while walking 11.
The difficult beginning to the season did little to change his focus.
"I've been around this game long enough," Swarzak said. "This game has a weird way of evening out. And I knew somewhere along the line, I was going to get a couple wins this year. Those first three starts, I wasn't worrying about it."
Swarzak was originally drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of Nova (Fla.) High School. He was rated by Baseball America as the sixth-best prospect in Minnesota's organization entering this season.
After serving a 50-game suspension for violating Minor League Baseball's drug policy in 2007, Swarzak's numbers faltered at Double-A New Britain the following season. After a promotion to Rochester, Swarzak went 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA in seven starts to put himself back on the club's radar.
Once Perkins returns, Swarzak will either head back to Rochester or remain in the Twins' bullpen. Manager Ron Gardenhire wasn't sure Wednesday which road the club will take.
But Swarzak said he'll fill any role if it helps the big league club win.
"Anything I can do to help this team," Swarzak said. "I just want to try and make them better in any way, shape or form. If that means I'm wearing street clothes in the stands and rooting for them, I'll do whatever I can."
David Just is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.