Return of the swag for Jordan Swagerty?

Once a top-10 prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals system before being slowed by injury, right-hander Jordan Swagerty is mounting a comeback.

2013 was an unexpectedly-challenging season for St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jordan Swagerty. The right-hander struggled with bone spurs and his control upon return from Tommy John surgery, despite being placed a level lower than his club prior to injury.

Swagerty was in 2012 big league camp
Drafted in the second round in 2010, Swagerty went under the knife in early April 2012. In his comeback, he first pitched in an early June 2013 extended spring training game before being assigned to the Gulf Coast League on a rehab assignment later that month.

Through six relief appearances in the Florida State League after a pair of GCL tune-up outings, Swagerty yielded 10 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings for a 13.50 ERA. He fanned four but walked eight with Palm Beach.

Placed on the disabled list of the A-Advanced club in late July, Swagerty was sent home and did not participate in the fall instructional league.

In one indication of his apparent progress since, however, the club included the 24-year-old among their non-roster invitees to 2014 Major League spring training camp. He was also an NRI in 2012.

Another important milestone was passed on Thursday morning when Swagerty tweeted that he had just thrown his first bullpen. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Jupiter, Fla. on February 12.

If Swagerty is deemed fully ready to resume his career, Double-A Springfield would probably be his most aggressive destination to open 2014. He first reached the level during the 2011 season. Another open question is his post-injury role. Despite a solid three-pitch repertoire, the former Arizona State star was a successful closer in college.

Rooted in optimism that his 2013 struggles were not indicative of his long-term potential, The Cardinal Nation ranked Swagerty 29th on the recently-announced top 40 prospect list for 2014. That is still down considerably from his number 11 ranking the year before.

2014 should clearly indicate which trajectory his career will follow.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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