It was a big night for loogys young and old, as 24-year-old RJ Swindle and 35-year-old Steve Kline made appearances for Reading and Lehigh Valley, respectively.
Clout will tell you there are no fewer than 473 million junkball left-handers floating around the minors. I had a chance to observe one of those oddities last night. On in relief of Josh Outman – who pitched six shutout frames – Swindle held the visiting Senators to one hit over 1 1-3 shutout innings, uncorking his mythic low-50s curveball to retire his final batter.
A non-roster invitee of the Yankees a year ago and graduate of the independent leagues, the three-quarter left-hander, who pitches from the very left edge of the rubber, has retired 20 of the 22 batters he’s faced so far. In four minor league seasons, totaling 300 innings, he’s 20-11 with a 2.48 ERA and a brilliant 292/55 K/BB ratio. Before the season, I had a chance to talk with Swindle about what makes him so effective against left-handed hitters. [MP3]
Around the same time, about 50 miles east, veteran left-hander Steve Kline, who signed a minor league deal with the Phillies last week, made his debut with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, recording two outs in relief, but also walking two. To make room for Kline, the team placed reliever Joe Bisenius on the disabled list with a toe injury.
Reading observations: Swindle is fascinating to watch. The ball just tumbles out of his hand and looks like it's floating on a cloud. His final pitch was 54 mph, but he mostly sits around 71-73 with some kind of feathery slurve pitch. I’m rooting for him ... Greg Golson went two-for-four, raising his average to .340. His second hit exploded off his bat for a solid liner up the middle. He was caught stealing twice, a combination of bad jumps and guessing wrong on an outside fastball. ... Josh Outman looked crisp and was hitting 93 on his fastball. There’s a hitch in his delivery. He’s a funky hitter, too. There’s nothing smooth about Josh Outman.