On this Thanksgiving eve, it appears former Northern League and Atlantic League hurler R. J. Swindle has something for which he can be really thankful.
It may be his own persistence, as a matter of fact.
Agent Paul Hunt told MLB.com nine teams were interested in his free agent client, including his former team, the World Champion Phillies. "He wanted a 40-man roster spot and the (Milwaukee) Brewers stepped up," Hunt told reporter Adam McCalvy.
The 25-year-old southpaw has been signed to a major league contract, a rarity for someone recently released and with only three appearances in the majors under his belt.
"He gets left-handed hitters out," Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin told MLB.com. "He's more of a situational guy, not necessarily a full-inning guy."
Swindle, a Canadian who now calls Charleston, SC home, is one of only two southpaw relievers on the Milwaukee roster at this time. He is anything but a hard thrower, but the Brewers were impressed with his record of a strikeout-per-inning and his stingy walk ratio (63 in 353.2 minor league innings) in his five professional seasons. He walked only eight hitters and fanned 67 in 53.0 innings between AA and AAA this summer.
One year after being drafted by Boston, Swindle found himself at Schaumburg, IL in the Northern League for the 2005 season. He was with the Flyers for time in '06, and with Newark, NJ in the Atlantic League for nine games in 2007.
What a 2008 for Swindle. He also pitched for Team Canada in the Olympics, debuted in the National League and now is in the Venezuelan League. Being signed by the Brewers could well top it all.