Robert Joseph Swindle
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 195 lb.
- School Charleston Southern University
- High School University High School (Orlando)
- Debut July 7, 2008
- Final Game August 4, 2009
- Born July 7, 1983 in Vancouver, BC CAN
R.J. Swindle has had a turbulent career. He spent his first five professional seasons in five different organizations (three major league, two independent league). After starting 2008 in the minors, he wound up in the majors by the All-Star break and then was put on Canada's Olympic roster. He is not a hard thrower, peaking at 84 mph on his fastball. His main pitch is a curveball that is timed around 55 mph.
Swindle was 6-9 with a 5.27 ERA as a college freshman, striking out 127 and walking 19 in 109 1/3 IP. He was named the Big South Conference Rookie of the Year and led the conference in strikeouts. He tied for 11th in NCAA Division I in strikeouts. In 2003, the sophomore went 10-5 with a 2.21 ERA. In 126 innings, he struck out 140 and walked 26. He set the Charleston Southern record for strikeouts in a season and won the Big South Conference MVP and Pitcher of the Year awards. He had 52.6% of his team's victories, leading NCAA Division I. He led the Conference in ERA and strikeouts and was one win shy of a pitching Triple Crown. He tied for 12th in NCAA Division I in wins, was 11th in strikeouts and tied Jered Weaver for 13th in ERA.
R.J. joined the Harwich Mariners for the summer of 2003. He was 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA, walking only seven in 63 IP. He tied Zach Jackson for second in the Cape Cod League in ERA. In 2004, Swindle had a 8-4, 3.24 record with a save and 127 strikeouts in 114 innings. He tied Zach Jackson for 14th in NCAA Division I in strikeouts and led his conference for the third straight year. He was 5th in the Conference in ERA and made All-Conference. He finished his college career with 24 wins and 394 strikeouts, both school records. He was second all-time in the Big South Conference in strikeouts.
Bouncing around the minors
Swindle was picked by the Boston Red Sox in the 14th round of the 2004 amateur draft. He debuted with the Lowell Spinners and did very well, going 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA. In 51 innings, he fanned 56 while walking just four. Had he qualified, he would have ranked second in the New York-Penn League in ERA. Despite this, he was let go by the Red Sox.
Swindle was signed by the Schaumburg Flyers and had a 6-4, 3.27 record in 2005. He placed 10th in the Northern League in ERA. He began 2006 with them and went 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA before another Organized Baseball team came along.
The New York Yankees signed Swindle. He split the year between the Charleston RiverDogs (4-2, 2 Sv, 0.61, 5 BB, 46 K in 44 1/3 IP over 21 games) and the Columbus Clippers (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 save). Even though he had again pitched well in the minor leagues, he was once more let go.
The Newark Bears were Swindle's 4th professional organization. He was 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in nine games before he got his third offer from a MLB club.
Phillies and Team Canada
The Philadelphia Phillies were the third MLB club to sign the left-hander. He split 2007 between the Lakewood BlueClaws (2-1, 10 Sv, 0.93 in 20 games; 16 H, 37 K in 29 IP) and Clearwater Threshers (0-1, 3 Sv, 4.80 in 12 G; 20 K, 3 BB in 15 IP).
Swindle joined Team Canada for the 2007 Baseball World Cup. He saw limited action, only facing four batters. He retired all three batters he faced from the last-place Thai national team. He allowed a solo homer to Bryan Engelhardt of the Dutch national team, the only other appearance he made in the Cup.
R.J. had a busy 2008. He was 1-0 with a 0.54 ERA for the Reading Phillies, allowing 8 hits, a walk and 16 strikeouts in 16 2/3 IP. He moved up to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and went 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA in his first 19 games; he had fanned 34 in 24 2/3 IP.
Swindle was called up to replace Brett Myers on the Phillies roster in early July. He debuted in The Show on his 25th birthday. Despite being a left-hander, he was brought in with three right-handed hitters due up, replacing Clay Condrey with a 8-1 deficit after 5 innings. He allowed a home run to David Wright, the first MLB batter he faced, and Carlos Beltran and Damion Easley both singled. Swindle struck out Carlos Delgado and walked Fernando Tatis. He got Brian Schneider to pop up but Pedro Martinez hit a RBI single for a 10-1 lead. Swindle settled down to pitch scoreless ball in the 6th and 7th innings before giving way to J.C. Romero.
Swindle allowed 9 hits and 4 runs in 4 2/3 IP in his first three games for the 2008 Phillies and was sent back down to the minors, replaced by Joe Bisenius. He was then added to Canada's Olympic roster. Swindle allowed one unearned run in 4 1/3 IP in the 2008 Olympics. He surrendered two inherited runs in a 5-4 loss to Team USA by giving up a double to Terry Tiffee.
- 2008 Team Canada Media Guide
- 2008 Phillies Media Guide
- Cape Cod League
- Charleston Southern University sports
- 2003-2006 Baseball Almanacs
- 2008 Olympics