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Posts Tagged ‘R.J. Swindle’

Brewers Re-Shuffle Bullpen, DFA Swindle

Starting a fairly important series in Houston tonight, the Brewers have called up right-handed flamethrower Jesus Colome.  To make room for him on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters, Milwaukee have designated R.J. Swindle for assignment.  Swindle, who still has a minor league option left, was quickly snatched up by Tampa Bay on waivers.

While it’ll be nice to have another flamethrower coming out of the bullpen — Todd Coffey is the only other guy who can touch the mid-90s — it’s tough seeing the Brewers give up on Swindle after a very small sample size of just 6 2/3 Major League innings.  To me, it’s reminiscent of a couple years ago, when the Brewers gave up on Grant Balfour after a particularily ugly outing in Cincinnati (Swindle’s downfall came in Los Angeles).  Ironically, both players were claimed by the Rays — and Balfour played a huge part in Tampa’s bullpen success last year, posting a 1.54 ERA in 58 1/3 innings (he’s since come back to Earth a bit with an ERA over 4 this year). 

The Brewers signed Colome to a minor league deal just a couple weeks ago, and the former National turned in four solid outings for Triple A Nashville.  The 31-year old Colome was let go by Washington after putting up an ERA over 8 in 15 innings.  He has proven to be a fairly solid middle reliever despite playing on some poor teams, though, pitching in 61 games in each of the past two seasons with the Nats. 

Swindle, a Triple A All-Star for the Sounds this year, once again struggled to get big league hitters out despite fooling quite a few with his deceptively slow curveballs and eephus pitches.  I still have hopes of him becoming a serviceable MLB reliever, but it looks like he just got caught up in a numbers game in Milwaukee, much like Balfour did.  He just needs some time to figure things out, but unfortunately the Brewers aren’t in a position to give him that time right now, they needed to clear a 40-man roster spot for Colome, and they have a left-handed reliever who’s easily outproducing him (Mitch Stetter, who easily could be considered this year’s bullpen MVP).

Colome should be available to pitch tonight against the Astros if needed.  At the very least, this means Chris Smith won’t have to pitch in many close games.  Here’s to hoping that Colome can be that solid 7th inning guy Ken Macha has been looking for, leaving Coffey and Trevor Hoffman for the 8th and 9th innings, respectively.

Three Sounds Represent Brewers in AAA All-Star Game

July 16, 2009 1 comment

The Pacific Coast League may have lost the 22nd Triple-A All-Star Game in Portland, but it wasn’t by fault of any of the Brewers’ representatives.  The Nashville Sounds produced three All-Stars this year — top prospect Alcides Escobar, reliever R.J. Swindle, and right fielder Brendan Katin — and all three played well in the nationally televised game.

Escobar, who’s had a busy week between playing in the marathon Futures Game in St. Louis on Sunday and in Wednesday night’s Triple-A tilt, went 1-for-3 with a single before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the 8th inning.  Escobar hit second in the PCL order, behind Eric Young Jr. — the son of the former Brewer — and received a nice bit of pre-game hype from the ESPN crew.

Swindle has been hit hard in his pair of brief big league appearances with the Brewers, but has been lights-out for the Sounds, putting up a 0.93 ERA and 0.983 WHIP in 38 innings of relief.  The deceptive lefty put up a scoreless 7th inning for the PCL, allowing a hit to Drew Stubbs, but also striking out Jorge Padilla.  With Mitch Stetter having some good success against right-handed batters for the Brewers, you have to imagine that Swindle will get another crack at the Milwaukee bullpen the next time a spot opens up.

Katin had the biggest impact of the three, however, hitting a solo home run off J.D. Martin in the 3rd inning for the PCL’s first hit of the game.  Katin would end up playing all 9 innings, getting an at-bat in the bottom of the 9th inning with a runner on third and one out, and the PCL trailing 6-3.  Katin was unable to get the runner home, grounding out to the pitcher for the second out of the inning.

The PCL would mount a small rally with two outs, though, when Esteban German hit a two-run homer to cut the deficit to 6-5.  E.Y. Junior followed by striking out to end the game, giving the International League their 5th All-Star win in 7 years.  Not quite an American League-type run, but I’m sure they’ll take it.

Maybe the Brewers All-Star curse extends to the minor leagues, as well. 

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