Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Glenn Swanson

UC Irvine product Glenn Swanson is off to an outstanding start this season, as he has a 2.93 ERA in seven starts with the Single-A Clinton LumberKings. Lone Star Dugout spoke with the southpaw before a recent game.

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The Rangers selected pitcher Glenn Swanson in the 49th round of the 2005 draft, shortly after the southpaw had thrown just nine innings all season with his UC Irvine Anteaters.

Swanson, who had his 2005 season cut short due to an injury, returned to full-strength for his senior season in 2006. The native San Diegan posted a 9-4 record with a 2.86 ERA, including a no-hitter against the University of San Diego that took just 89 pitches to complete.

The Rangers were able to sign the left-hander as a fifth-year senior draft-and-follow candidate just days before the 2006 draft. Swanson reported to Short-Season Spokane, where he put up a 4.23 earned run average over 13 relief appearances. He was then promoted to Single-A Clinton, where he had a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings. A strike-thrower, Swanson walked just four while fanning 25.

Though he most likely profiles as a left-handed reliever in the majors, Swanson has worked as a starting pitcher with the LumberKings this season. The lefty has been successful, as he has a 2.93 ERA in seven starts. Swanson, who has fanned 42 and walked just six in 43 innings, is limiting opposing hitters to a paltry .229 average.

Scout.com's Dave Sanford recently caught up with Swanson before a recent Clinton LumberKings game.

Dave Sanford: The Rangers drafted you in 2005 and you signed in 2006 as a draft-and-follow. Can you describe the draft-and-follow process?

Glenn Swanson: It's pretty basic. They let you know that they drafted you and they give you an idea that if you come back next year and play up to your capabilities, then they'll pick you up.

Sanford: Did you have any communication with the Rangers while you were still in school?

Swanson: Not until real late. It was probably seven-to-ten days before the draft in that 2006 season that they finally started contacting me.

Sanford: Did you notice them scouting you particularly heavily?

Swanson: No, not so much. I was just looking to get out there and keep playing somewhere. The first opportunity that I got, I was going to take.

Sanford: You threw a no-hitter last year against the University of San Diego. Can you tell me what that was like?

Swanson: It's pretty surreal. It's just one of those games where you never go in expecting to throw a no-hitter. I don't think anybody does. But around the third or fourth inning, I was feeling good, all my pitches were working, and I was keeping guys off balance. Once that last out is recorded, that's the craziest feeling when all your teammates come and surround you.

Sanford: Could you talk a little about your repertoire and the speeds you work at?

Swanson: As far as speeds go, I'd say my fastball is about 84-88 MPH, or somewhere in that general range. My breaking ball is high-60's, low-70's. I have a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup and a couple of different arm angles for all those. It makes for a little bit of a different look for the hitters.

Sanford: What would you consider to be your best pitch, or your out pitch?

Swanson: Typically I'd probably say a curveball, but I think definitely in this league, if you work ahead, fastballs elevated always seem to work pretty well.

Sanford: Which pitch do you think needs the most work?

Swanson: I'd say my changeup. Consistency has always been an issue with the changeup. I think it's a really tough pitch to get a feel for consistently throughout the season. I think it's always a work in progress, so it's probably the pitch that I struggle with the most, but it's also the most effective pitch when it's on.

Sanford: You were in the bullpen last year, but this year you're in the starting rotation. Can you talk a little bit about the differences as far as preparation? Do you have any preference?

Swanson: I think I definitely like working as a starter more. There's definitely a great deal of preparation that goes into being a starter. You always know when you're going to throw. Your habits and the things that you do are always going to be the same. Being a reliever is a little more helter skelter out there. You're up-and-down, you're hot-and-cold. The one thing I will say to the reliever's defense is that once you mess up a little bit in a game, you always have a quicker turnaround to go out there and prove yourself again.

Sanford: Can you talk about the difference between professional hitters and the ones that you faced in college?

Swanson: I think it's definitely the plate discipline. If you throw a changeup in college, guys are swinging at it nine times out of ten. Here, there's a lot more plate discipline. Guys are looking for one pitch in one spot and their mindset is to wait until they see that pitch. You're not going to get a lot of chasing early in the count and that's definitely a big difference. Also, the wood bats. You'd think guys would hit the ball a little bit softer than with an aluminum bat, but it doesn't happen like that.

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