Michael Schwimmer pitches in relief for the Phils this past February in Spring Training. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Being in AAA Lehigh was like waiting in the bull pen for Michael Schwimmer. Time after time, the phone would ring and names like Michael Stutes, David Herndon, Drew Carpenter, Mike Zagurksi, Scott Mathieson and Juan Perez were asked for. But never Schwimer’s.
Of the six names mentioned, only two (Stutes and Herndon) are still with the Phillies – and Stutes is the only one who should remain on the roster heading into October.
But the phone finally rang for the 25-year-old Schwimer. And it took a little too long.
Schwimer has been dominant for the IronPigs, posting a 9-1 record, 1.88 ERA and a whopping 86 strike outs in 46 games and 67 innings pitched. Schwimer was named to the AAA All-Star team as well as arguably be Lehigh’s best player of the season.
With Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco being put on the DL last night, the door – and well the roster spot – opened for Schwimer. Now it will be Schwimer’s turn to join the Phillies bull pen and contribute, proving that this call up may be his first and last.
Schwimer’s road here wasn’t that long, though his wait this season was. Schwimer was drafted by the Phillies in the 14th round (436th overall) in the 2008 amateur entry draft. In 2009, his second full minor league season, Schwimer made it to AA Reading where he was 7-4 with a 4.03 ERA. Midway through last season, he was sent up to Lehigh where he has been nothing short of dominant. In 62 total appearances, he posted an 11-4 record with a sparkling 1.76 ERA.
Schwimer also boasts a big body. Towering at 6’8″, 240 pounds, Schwimmer will be the Phillies’ tallest player, surpassing the 6’6″ Roy Halladay and John Mayberry. Schwimer will also be donning the number 39 jersey left vacant since Brett Myers left for Houston after the 2009 season.
He will also be joining the famously nicknamed “Pig Pen,” named by a handful of fans on Twitter. The Pig Pen features Stutes, Antonio Bastardo, Herndon and starter Vance Worley who was pitching in relief a handful of times this season before finding a permanent spot in the rotation.
With half a month left before the September call-ups, Schwimer may want to get accustomed to the Phillies club house for the rest of the season. How he performs for the next month and a half will determine if he will be pitching in October. There is no doubt in my mind though that he will be winning an Opening Day spot next year, and the year after that, and so on.
Welcome to the Pig Pen, Schwimer. I hope you stay for a while.