The 24-year-old junkball left-hander, who posted a 57/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 44 relief innings between Lakewood and Clearwater, will join Team Canada as they prepare for the 37th annual World Cup in Taiwan.
The Phillies were contacted by Team Canada asking about Swindle’s availability, but there were concerns about getting the proper paperwork, according to Swindle’s agent. Swindle, who signed a minor league deal with the Phillies early last season, was born in Canada, but his parents are American citizens and he grew up in Florida, so he has dual citizenship. Avoiding any hang-ups, Swindle completed the paperwork and is set to leave Friday with Team Canada.
With a name resembling that of a country-and-western casino tycoon, Swindle pitched collegiate ball at Charleston Southern, shattering the school record for strikeouts. The Red Sox drafted him in the 14th round of the 2004 draft and he pitched his first season in Low-A Lowell, striking out 56 in 51 innings, walking only four. In 2005, he appeared in 18 games with Schaumburg of the independent Northern League and eventually found his way to the Yankees in 2006, pitching most of the season in Low-A Charleston, strikeouting out 46 and walking just 8. The Yankees released the 6-3 left-hander during spring training and he caught on with the Phils, baffling left-handed batters with his slow, loopy curve.
According to his agent, the Phils have re-signed Swindle to a AA/AAA contract for next season.
Beerleaguer: Swindle’s invite to the World Cup tournament makes it three (known) farmhands representing the Phillies and their native lands, including catcher Jason Jaramillo and Josh Outman for Team USA. Outman is considered one of the top, if not the top, pitchers in the chain, but it’s Jaramillo’s inclusion that should have everyone excited. The 25-year-old prospect gets the call alongside some of baseball’s best young talent. There’s something to be said about Jaramillo’s growing list of accolades, praise that goes beyond the numbers on Baseball Cube. The Phillies like the switch-hitter's defense and handling of pitchers and compare him to Johnny Estrada, and the rest of baseball obviously respects him, so it might be worth taking the last two seasons with a grain of salt. The catcher got off to a poor start last season in Reading and had some nagging injury problems, then in 2007, didn’t do much at Ottawa. Then again, neither did anyone. Look for Jaramillo to get a longer than usual look in spring training.
Update: Kevin from the Threshers ticket office sends word that infielder Brad Harman has been named to Australia's World Cup Team and will represent his home country in the 2007 International Baseball Federation World Cup, which is scheduled for November 6-18 in Chinese Taipei. Thanks for the update, Kevin. [Link]