Wed 15 Jul 2009
If the Twins are going to make a serious second half run at a division title, they will need – among other things – more consistency from their starting rotation. One starter who is sure to get a long look is Anthony Swarzak. I caught up with the 23-year-old rookie late last week to discuss his eventful first half.
DZ: I imagine this has been a pretty memorable few months for you; could you just talk about that a little bit?
SWARZAK: It’s been amazing, ever since getting that first phone call (informing me) I was going to the big leagues and all the way up to the other day, getting to pitch against the Yankees.
DZ: Where were you when you found out you got called up?
SWARZAK: I was in Norfolk, we were getting ready to play the Triple A Orioles affiliate and I got the call, it was pretty exciting.
DZ: Were you at the stadium?
SWARZAK: No, I was in the hotel room, just hanging out about to get some lunch and my phone rang and they said, “Hey, pack your stuff, you’re going up.”
DZ: You pitched pretty well right away, threw 7 innings of shutout ball against the Cubs in Wrigley Field (on June 13) and then you get sent down because of the numbers game. Take me through that day a little bit.
SWARZAK: It was great, pitching at Wrigley field – there is no other place like that – the adrenaline you feel just going out on the field and seeing the ivy was pretty special and I pitched well there and that made it even better. I got sent down right after the game – I knew it was going to happen sooner or later – I wasn’t upset, wasn’t hurt by it at all. I just had to go down there and get some more innings and hopefully get back up here soon and that’s what happened.
DZ: Has there been anyone on the team who has taken you under their wing?
SWARZAK: Everybody. I can’t even name one guy, everybody has been really, really nice. Everybody has gone out their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable here. I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.
DZ: Is there anything that has surprised you pleasantly or been more difficult than you thought?
SWARZAK: Definitely the patience of the hitters. You can throw those borderline pitches all day long in the minor leagues and some guys will swing and some guys won’t – you can kind of cruise through innings. Here, that pitch two or three inches off the plate away – most hitters take that like it’s a foot outside and it’s really only (the width of) a ball outside.
DZ: You mentioned the Yankees earlier – facing guys like A-Rod and Jeter who you probably grew up watching on TV, does it take a few minutes just to get over the awe of the situation?
SWARZAK: It definitely took a couple of minutes to get rid of that. After the first inning I felt like I put that behind me and just wanted to get guys out and try to get the team a win. We ended up losing that game – a close one – every loss hurts but it hurts a little more when you lose to the Yankees.
DZ: One last thing, what are your plans for the All Star break?
SWARZAK: I am going to go home for a little bit, visit my mom – spend some time with her and my father, see him a little bit. Just kind of relax a little bit and get away from the game as much as I can.
DZ: Your mom is quite the TV star after your debut.
SWARZAK: See sure is. She is a doll. She’s got a big heart, she works her butt off and she is going to be excited to see me I know.
See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:
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