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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Travis Swaggerty Gears For Season After Roller Coaster Break

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The offseason for most baseball players consists of a bit of downtime, and then back to the training that has them ramped up to go when the Spring rolls around.

This past offseason for Travis Swaggerty was far from typical. For starters, he was recovering from right shoulder surgery that cost him all but 12 games in 2021. Secondly, he welcomed his first child, a daughter, into the world. Unfortunately, this was not the most smooth and provided another direction for his offseason focus.

“My offseason was pretty stressful,” Swaggerty said. “There was a lot of dad things going on. I had to put my mind on that. It kind of reminded me that baseball is just a game at the end of the day. My life is more important. This is what I do to provide for my family. There is some importance to this too, but it just made me take a step back to see what is important to life.”

Along with the shoulder injury, the Coronavirus also cost Swaggerty the ability to play in competitive games the season before. Additionally, he was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, meaning that the lockout delayed his training in Bradenton and also prevented him from working with team staff until a resolution was reached.

Swaggerty said that he was ramped up and ready to play in February. He also admitted that as the lockout drug on, he also soaked in the extra family time with his wife and daughter, both of whom were on hand to see him start the season in Indianapolis.

While it added some stress to his life, Swaggerty said that his personal life, and taking his mind off the game actually reduced the tension of being away from the game he loves.

“It has been a long time,” Swaggerty said. “When I got here, I thought that it didn’t really feel so long because my offseason was so hectic with my wife and a premature baby, there was a lot that went into that. My focus was on being a dad and a husband first and getting my work in when I could. I really, really got after it when I could.”

Though he had his attention on other life aspects than baseball, Swaggerty did admit that it was the longest he had been away from the game and he was “sitting on the couch chomping at the bit, ready to get back.”

The shortened Spring Training, along with the start and stop of his offseason, led to a bit of a setback in his throwing shoulder, not the surgically repaired one. He said that he probably felt well enough to play in the outfield, but it is better to be cautious.

With this, Indianapolis manager Miguel Perez will be penciling Swaggerty in as the designated hitter for the first couple weeks of the campaign. Perez is also excited about what Swaggerty brings to the squad.

“This is the first time that I am actually coaching (Swaggerty), but I know him from the past,” Perez said. “It is good to have him back on the field. Soon he will be back on the field playing defensively.”

Baseball is a game of failure and constantly facing adversity. As a first round pick and top prospect, many of the game’s elite do not face a lot of these challenges until they face promotion to the sport’s top level. Below is a breakdown of Swaggerty’s time in the Pirates organization from Anthony Murphy.

Despite Setbacks, Travis Swaggerty In Position To Validate Draft Status

While there were plenty of times in the past couple of years that were difficult and not fun, Swaggerty said that he knows that he is better for having experienced them.

“I think that experience was huge for my mental strength, actually, more so than physical,” Swaggerty said. “I learned about adversity and how to deal with it and how to recover. It was really hard.”

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

Which Pirates Prospects Stood Out in the First Week?

Top Pirates Prospects Sorted by Level, Position and Age

Why Am I Here? Some Interesting Initial Assignments in the Pirates’ System

Travis Swaggerty Gears For Season After Roller Coaster Break

Ji-Hwan Bae: Opposite Field Hitting Leads To Strong Opening Week

Cody Bolton Returns to the Mound After Two Years Away

Indianapolis Indians Pitching Staff Thrive Through Chaotic Week

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Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.

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