Nearly two months into the 2007 season, left-handed pitcher Glenn Swanson had been one of the many bright spots on an outstanding Clinton LumberKings pitching staff.
In seven starts with the L-Kings, the 24-year-old draft-and-follow signee had posted a 6-1 record with a 2.93 earned run average. He held opposing hitters to a .229 average while recording 42 strikeouts – versus just six walks – in 43 innings.
Swanson was then promoted to High-A Bakersfield, where he pitched well until an uncharacteristic six walk performance against Lancaster on June 24. That would be Swanson's last start of the season and he would undergo Tommy John surgery just weeks later.
Despite the sudden loss of control in the game, Swanson says the injury was something that had built up.
"It had been building," said Swanson. "It wasn't one pitch and then it snapped or anything like that. That pain got so great that it was affecting my command. The walks while I was in the Cal League were uncharacteristic. Definitely a six walk performance is a little bit out of character for me, so I knew something was wrong."
The injury is something Swanson has felt for a long time.
"Going on a couple of years now," said Swanson when asked how long he has felt the pain in his left elbow. "It has just been a little twinge. You pitch through the pain unless you think it's injured and I didn't think it was injured."
Swanson missed nearly the entire 2005 season at UC Irvine due to an injury, but he elected not to have surgery. In fact, this was the first time Swanson had ever undergone surgery on his arm.
"This was my first time going under the knife," he said. "It's my first time with stitches or anything like that."
After having the surgery in June, Swanson is currently rehabbing at the club's minor league facility in Surprise, Arizona. The southpaw feels good about his progress so far.
"It's coming along well," said Swanson of his rehab. "It is a slow process but it's pretty exact. The trainers are very precise about what you do, so it is very regimented. There are no surprises. You just go in there and do your work. Every day is a different challenge."
Currently wearing a brace on his left arm, the San Diego native is working to get his arm back into shape.
"I'm trying to get the flexibility back, the range of motion in my arm," he said. "I'm trying to stretch it out and bend it as much as possible to get it the same as my other arm."
Swanson expects to be able to throw a baseball about three months from now.
"Usually it's about four months," said Swanson when asked when he would be able to pick up a baseball again. "In the middle of November, that should be my timetable."
The hurler, who will spend his entire offseason in Arizona, hopes to return to action around three-quarters of the way through the 2008 campaign.
"If I am [back next season], it'll be towards the latter part of the season, right around this time," he said. "That's definitely the timescale I'm shooting for. I want to get out there and pitch as soon as possible within the parameters that they set out for us."
Swanson hard at work in Surprise
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