Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chris Schwinden: Pitching Long Shot From Fresno Pacific Is Now With The Mets

In the 22nd round of the 2008 Amateur Draft the Mets signed then 21 year old Chris Schwinden out of Fresno Pacific as the 674th pick of the draft.

The tall righty was ready to abandon his baseball dreams when Fresno Pacific’s coach Oscar Hirschkorn afforded him the opportunity to continue playing. He is grateful to Hirschkorn and others for his recent promotion to the Mets

Said the Mets right-hander:

"The list is long," he said. "I'd have to say #Oscar Hirschkorn# is the biggest one for for giving me the opportunity to keep playing; for taking me in when I had nowhere else to go. I also owe a lot to my pitching coaches; Ricky Bones here in Buffalo, Dana Gomez at COS and Tom Buckley at Golden West. There's so many people to thank that have helped me on this journey. I could go on and on."

Before being drafted in 2008, Schwinden went 6-1 with a 2.48 ERA and school record of 98 K’s for Fresno Pacific after transferring from College of the Sequoias. 2008 was an exciting year for Schwinden who was name GSAC Pitcher Of The Year as well as being drafted by the Mets. Again, Schwinden acknowledges coach Hirschkorn:

"He made the calls. He got me seen by scouts so most of the credit goes to him. I was really close to being done with baseball. I can't say enough good things about Oscar and Fresno Pacific."

Hirschkorn has a mutual respect and appreciation of Schwinden:

"I'm just really proud of Chris. All the time and sacrifice he put in, he's made us all proud. A lot of players would have 'hung em up' but he persevered."

Schwinden has become the first FP player to make the pro’s.

Before being called up to the Mets, Schwinden was packing his clothes after the conclusion of the Mets AAA affiliate Buffalo Bison’s season when pitching coach Ricky Bones came to him:

"He asked what I was doing," said Schwinden. "When I told him I was packing up my clothes he said 'You're gonna need better clothes than that' and called me into the manager's office."

"You're going to the big leagues," Buffalo manager Tim Teufel would tell him. The words every baseball minor leaguer longs to hear and the culmination of a long journey of hard work by the 24-year-old righthander originally drafted in the 22nd round of the 2008 Amateur Draft.

"I did think [making the majors] was a possibility," said Schwinden, thinking back to the day he was drafted. "I thought it was going to take a lot longer than this, but I was given the right opportunities and didn't let them pass me by. It's all worked out for the best. I haven't regretted anything."

The future certainly looks bright for the Buffalo Bisons AAA Pitcher Of The Year, and although he isn’t sure if he will be used in relief or as a starter, the young right-hander is excited to have this opportunity.

Sources: KMPH Fox 26, Baseball Reference

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