Swarzak rebounds from rocky streak at Indians camp

Ex-Twins reliever seeking bullpen spot with Tribe on Minor League deal

Swarzak rebounds from rocky streak at Indians camp

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Anthony Swarzak has looked extremely sharp in his two most recent Cactus League appearances for the Indians. Prior to those outings, the right-hander struggled mightily, allowing a stream of hits and pile of runs.

Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said it has almost been like seeing two different pitchers on the mound.

"He was really good his first outing," Callaway said. "And then had a few outings where he wasn't as good, just as far as getting ahead. The last couple, he's really done a good job with the little things -- getting ahead, controlling the count -- and it's paid off with strikeouts and really good stuff. It seems like he's getting better and better as camp goes on."

Swarzak, 29, signed a Minor League contract with the Indians in January and came into camp as a non-roster invitee, competing for a spot in Cleveland's crowded bullpen. Following a scoreless spring debut on March 5, the righty gave up nine runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings across three games. Swarzak's two most recent outings have consisted of four strikeouts, along with no runs, hits or walks allowed.

Needless to say, Swarzak has felt a sense of relief of late.

"The whole spring, health-wise, I've felt really good," Swarzak said. "I've felt almost ahead of schedule, so those three rough innings I had in a row were tough to swallow, because I felt so good. I'm glad I kind of got it worked out and things are starting to roll for me a little bit."

Swarzak does not have an out clause in his contract, meaning Cleveland can reassign him to the Minors without the risk of losing him, if the right-hander does not figure into the Opening Day plans. Swarzak, who ranked second in the Majors in relief innings (237 1/3) over 2012-14 with the Twins, is trying not to worry about his place in the bullpen competition.

"Everything about this staff, since I've been here, has blown me away," Swarzak said. "They've accepted me with open arms and really given me an opportunity to pitch here. That's all I was looking for coming into camp. Regardless of how it plays out these next couple weeks, I'm thrilled with the experience here so far."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.