Spring Training is finally here!

Well we have done it once again, conquered for a 4th year in a row the ASU Baseball Alumni Golf Tournament!! We took the crown with a score of 55 or 15 under.  The roughest part of it all is finding a place on the mantle for all the trophies! This year we played at our school course Karsten which is always in great shape. It was a little tougher pin placement than usual which made some approach shots a bit more difficult. I have a yearly ritual of the week before our tourney. My family and our family friends (the Campbells) come out to Phoenix and stay at our house. We play 4 or 5 days of golf at some of our favorite places like TPC, Scottsdale and Troon. Not only do I play golf daily but I go over to my buddy Mike Leake’s house to get some workouts in. By the end of the week I’m tired and ready to head off to spring training!

The end of the offseason is such an exciting time for me. The feeling of knowing it is time to get back on the baseball field is thrilling. But then reality sets in and getting to the field at 6:30 to get in work outs is a little rough.

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My arm is finally ready for action! As you may recall, before surgery my recovery was slow and I could not go every other day off the mound. But this week, the week before spring training I threw eight bullpens. So being able to do that was an exciting step for me to conquer.

Since I’ve been in camp my bullpens have been going well. It’s great to be on the field and fun to be around the guys. I think the biggest change is the transition into camp. It used to be like second nature but relearning everything after two years it’s definitely a change. There are a lot more hurdles to get over than I anticipated. For instance the things the small things aren’t so small; pick off moves, throwing to bases, bunting, etc. These used to be things that came naturally to me but now I am just learning to get back to my comfort level with them.

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Well until next time, guys have a great week if you get out to camp have a great time because you know we are! You can follow me @jordanswagerty on Twitter. God Bless!

 

Healthy and Ready to Go!

It has been a day or two (4 months) since I’ve updated ya’ll on what’s been going on over the off-season! First things first, I feel healthy!  It has been a long time since I could say that. It feels great to be throwing, letting it loose, and having the relief of knowing my arm is going to feel good doing what it’s supposed to do.  I am anticipating the countdown for camp to start!

This off season I have been extremely dedicated to working out hard to make sure I am in baseball shape for camp. What is being in baseball shape? I can tell you, it’s not beach workouts, no heavy bicep and chest workouts. It is just the core muscles that will keep you healthy for an entire season; core, legs, and shoulders. It has been fun watching my body progress into what it needs to be able to get that uniform back on and get back on the field to start going at hitters again.

So what’s been up this off-season? My girlfriend and I got a new horse, Dancer. He is a 7-year-old Tennessee Walker and is a complete blast to work with. He is not like most horses. He has a true soft side and loves to follow me around (it’s possible that it’s because he knows I have treats in my pockets). He cannot stand not having all eyes and ears on him. I live on some land that has trails I can take him on. He gets plenty of work doing that. That’s the only new animal I have gotten over the off-season. For those of you that keep up with me know that my girlfriend Guin and I have four Pomeranians. They are doing great but it can be a handful having a full on pom pack. Make sure to check them out on Instagram @PomSwag

Dancer

Dancer

I have done a fair share of travel over the course of the off season. I went out to Arizona a few times to escape to that awesome year-around weather. I went up to the northeast for a NRA fundraiser. Another awesome trip was to Boise, Idaho with Guin. We went for a Boise State football game and to visit her parents. The blue turf was a definite highlight. The state of Idaho was amazing. It is my kind of place; laid back and full of nature! I love to get out see new places and be surprised.  We rode bikes everywhere and the course around the river was great. It is crazy how fresh the air was. It was an awesome trip. Lastly, I did some great man trips; hunting in Arkansas and west Texas with my best bud and dad.

Go Broncos

Go Broncos

            A huge part of my life is family. They are my biggest supporters. I love being home sitting around, talking, and doing activities with them. It is very important for me to be around my parents, I won’t have them forever and I want to take advantage of the time I can spend with them because those are times you can never get back!   For those of you that keep up, my sister Sara Beth is doing awesome in Nashville! She has her first full CD out and is currently working on her second. A cool thing happened over the holidays, as her Christmas video was played on CMT on Christmas day while we were eating Christmas dinner. That was exciting for the entire family to get to see and be there with her. You can check out her page on CMT.

Well guys it’s only a little over two weeks until we will be back in the full swing of things. I love everyone who follows my blog and if you get a chance during camp or the season please stop by and say hello. I would love to see you guys! Until then, God Bless. You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @jordanswagerty

Learning through adversity

So I had a little bit of time tonight to right up a new blog and its due to the amount of rain we have been getting down here in Florida! Someone send us some sunshine! Rainouts seem to be the name of the game here in the Florida State League.

I have been with the team for nearly two weeks and we had our second rainout today. Playing down here in Florida there has been a couple of tropical storms around the state and it seems to keep sending rain our way.  Since I have been back and going that’s the last thing I need coming back from surgery!

Coming back is all about the repetitions in game-like situations, getting your feet wet. With a few outings under my belt now it has been a little more difficult than I expected but it’s been a blast to just be back out there.

It seems like one day you’re cruising through hitters and the next day nothing seems to work. I think anyone coming back from surgery will tell you the same thing! Some things that I can take away from the experience is really learning how to pitch on days where you don’t have all of your pitches. Really learn to use and trust your fastball. Really try to hit your spots with it. Once you can do that, then on days where everything is working you can roll through innings and days it’s not, you still can attack hitters with your fastball and try to get outs in different ways. Either way I leave the mound looking forward to getting back out there next time.

So I have had the opportunity to get out and do some shooting in the last few days and its one thing that really gets me away during season and gets my mind off baseball. I recently worked with some really cool guys that own a company called Drake Associates. Chris Drake talked with me on the phone and we worked out getting a new Chassis system for a rifle that I had already purchased and since then the gun has shot unbelievable. If you know anything about guns I was getting consistent ¾ inch groups at 200 yards. These guys do a lot of custom work and do a great job so definitely check out their website and their blog here.

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In other news it’s that time again. Just turned 24 years old on the 14th. Where does time go? Seems like yesterday I was signing with the Cardinals taking a trip around Busch Stadium, watching the game and now I’ve been in with the organization for three years. A nice surprise is my family came in for the weekend and surprised me and my girlfriend! It truly is an amazing time when I get to spend it with family. I’m very close to my family especially my dad who really is a best friend. I know I blog about it a lot but we went to Jetty’s which still is my favorite place in the area. Just doesn’t seem like any other place compares here in Palm Beach.

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Photo credit: SaraBeth Swagerty http://instagram.com/p/buietSOkIV/#

Anyway, I just wanted to stop in for a bit with you guys! Thanks everyone for keeping up with the blog. Don’t forget to follow on twitter for updates with the blog @jordanswagerty. God Bless

Back Playing Under the Lights

Hey everyone, what’s up?? I know it has been a few days since I have been on here but a lot has been going on here. I have been trying to keep up with letting you all know what’s going on in the day to day but since I have finally graduated rehab, time is flying by. 

So where to start?? It felt like the day to finally pitch was never going to come and now it’s here. I have finally joined a full-season team club here in Palm Beach.  I am really enjoying the new/old lifestyle of baseball life. My schedule is completely opposite of rehab.

Instead of early mornings, it’s sleeping in time now. I show up to the field in the early afternoon. My new routine is with a team and the focus is to win games, not conquer my elbows issues because I am finally healthy!  

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To say the least, I can’t say it enough how thankful I am to be back playing under the lights and feeling like I am back to my old identity, a baseball player. I really had forgotten how much I had missed it until I got into the routine of being on the team. There is something about pitching in front of crowds, winning games and being apart of a team that really gets me pumped.

It has been a big transition to face hitters again.  They are actually working the count and know how to hit off-speed pitches, and make you throw strikes. You have to pitch again; you can’t just count on blowing guys away with a fastball. Another big difference is the intensity. It is amazing how much more goes into pitching when there are fans at the game. I like to take it to a whole new level!

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My first game was on the road in Bradenton, FL against the High-A team of the Pirates. They have done some renovations to the park since the last time I was there in 2011. They added a party deck around the outfield. It makes for a pretty cool atmosphere.

 Another highlight of the past week is doggy day at the park. (Follow the pups on Instagram and Twitter @pomswag).  The pups had an awesome time coming to the park and getting to watch me pitch. It was the first time they got to see that!

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Last thing I wanted to talk about is I did get a Vine. My account is @jordanswagerty . I have not really had a whole lot to put on there. So I need some help from you guys on what you want to see.  Until next time, thanks everyone for reading! Don’t forget to get updates on twitter @jordanswagerty. God Bless!

Downtime in Dallas

Well another week in the books and things are still going well down here in Florida. I’m back in games, getting closer to the finish line and hopefully never looking back. The only issue we’ve been dealing with down here is the weather. It’s tough to get a sunny day! Recently we had a four day break and the days before we left, we had two rainouts and the first two days since I’ve been back, it’s been raining. The hurricane that hit up north in the state has really thrown a lot of rain our way.

Now let’s talk about the four day break. I did get to head home to Dallas over the break, and I expected to just kick back and put my feet up but it seemed like I couldn’t slow down. When you’re only back for a few days, it seems like everyone already has plans for you.  A positive is that I did get to see a lot of family I usually don’t get to see during the season.

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Harlow flying back to Dallas with me

 

We started off the trip with a little bit of shooting taking out some pistols, a few assault rifles, and my .50 Cal (video here).

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I spent half a day out shooting and had a blast! Living in Dallas we are pretty close to Ft. Worth, Texas which is the home of the Ft. Worth stockyards. It has become one of my favorite places. There is really a lot of Texas history there, and it really feels like you’re in the Wild West. We started out by browsing a few of the shops, which, of course, turned into making a few purchases. I got my hat re-shaped and picked up a new band for it.  My pops got a new cowboy hat, so we were looking pretty Texan!

After we toured the shops, we stopped long enough to get a picture with the Texas longhorn.  Then, we proceeded to the petting zoo. Got plenty of good pictures and and memories. The last place we went to was a local restaurant that is pretty famous called Reattas.  It really is a great place with a story. There was a big tornado that swept through Ft. Worth in early 2000 that blew away the restaurant.  The old Reattas sat on the 35 floor of the old Bank One Building where you had a great view of the city, where people came from miles around to eat and see the view. It really was a cool place to eat and a cool atmosphere. To say the least I had an awesome break but now its time to get back to business and keep getting better everyday.

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I did have another outing over the weekend and it went much better than the first one, the difference being my fastball command and velocity. I only had to use two breaking balls in the outing out of the nine pitches I threw.  It was a one, two, three inning, but I could have had a better one with the breaking balls I threw but at the end of the day my arm feels good and I got to throw a baseball another day!

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Thanks to everyone keeping up with the blog I love reading the comments. It really is fun to fill y’all in on the day to day in my world which has been rehab but soon hope to be back on a team! Follow me on twitter @jordanswagerty and God Bless!

Back in the Game!

Well I am officially back in the game! It was only one inning of work but none the less it was a game. Now I can blog a little more about baseball and less about random events throughout my weeks.

I got to throw all of my pitches and I wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked to have been but I was around the strike zone with everything and felt good while throwing which is the best part to me.

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Although my stuff was not as sharp as I would have liked for it to be, I did get outs and it is a good building block for me. I now know what I need to work on. I have finally pitched in a game and have seen how every pitch works against hitters. I threw good breaking balls but not my best. The same with change-ups. Also once my velocity gets back to what it was, in another couple of outings the speed differential will be much better which will make all off speed pitches harder to hit.

It is exciting to know I will be able to get back on the mound after a game and know my arm is holding up! You really have no idea what to expect coming back from surgery. I didn’t know if I was going to get hit or be able to throw it by guys and to my surprise it really was the same as last time I threw in a game in 2011, with guys not on time with my fastball and chasing my off speed stuff.

It was an extended game but I did get to face three rehab guys for the Marlins including two guys with big league time, so it really was a good judge for me on how my stuff is playing. Another surprise for me was that I got to start the game. I expected to come out of the bullpen in the later innings but was a little bit surprised to see that I was starting the game and got to go through my normal rituals before a game.

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Another exciting part of the day is seeing that the game was in the stadium and not on the backfields which most of them are. It’s fun to be out in Rodger Dean Stadium which is a great place to play. It really is the definition of a pitchers park. It might be the best park to pitch in Minor League Baseball. It’s a pretty large park and the wind is usually blowing in pretty hard from right field. It really takes a very well struck baseball to leave the yard.

I would also like to thank everyone or the support over the last 14 months. My family has been great, the Cardinals staff down here in Florida has worked everyday with the guys in rehab and has put in so much effort to get us back on the field from our PT to strength and conditioning. Everyone plays a huge part in getting us healthy and back on the field.

Also thanks to everyone shooting me tweets with supporting messages! Already have the next blog ready to go so check back in the next few days! I took a trip to Dallas over our break for rehab and had some pretty cool experiences I want to share. Like always follow me on Twitter for blog updates @jordanswagerty and God bless!

Almost Game Time

Hey everyone I’m back at it and getting closer everyday! I have been working hard and am in the last stretch of rehab. It’s surreal to think that it has been 14 months but in about two weeks I am back in the games!

I have been back on the mound for a few weeks and working on all my different pitches. It has been a lot of fielding practice to ensure I am ready for my first game since my injury. Now that I am back to being completely healthy, it’s definitely a different feeling when I throw but as other guys who have been through it have told me, it just takes time and I will be back to feeling normal.

I have noticed that some of my breaking balls are sharp and have lots of movement while others seem to be a bit loopy and hard to control. As for my fastballs, they seem to jump out of my hand while others are a bit wild. It has been a lot of fun being back on the mound especially when I notice an improvement from day to day. In baseball and especially rehab, we have to strive for excellence in order to get back on track and learn from our mistakes.

The biggest difference I have noticed out of my throws is my change-up. I am thinking it is going to be a really good pitch when I make my return.  As we have seen this season, injuries are a part of the game regardless of what league you are in; it is just how you decide to react to it. If you are able to take the negatives and turn them into positives you are much more likely to progress in baseball and in life.

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A hobby update, I have gotten back into fishing on a regular basis and shooting. The outdoors have played such a big part in my life growing up and it’s nice to be able to get out there a bit during season. I’ve been fishing on a pretty regular basis and lucky for me I moved condos where there is a big pond right outside of my place.  So how could I not get out there and get a pole in the water??

As for shooting I thought I had found a pretty solid range here in Palm Beach after hearing about it from a couple locals, I quickly found out the complete opposite! Sign a waiver and you’re pretty much all on your own. That might sound like a good deal but everyone is not the same experience level. I’m very good with gun safety and teaching others my techniques, while others hit the target and throw their hands in the air while holding their loaded gun in their hands… big no-no! There was another guy who brought in a rifle…without a case, and a lady hit our target. Needless to say, we won’t be going back there.

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My mom’s birthday was this past weekend so she came in town and we went to our favorite place, Jetty’s. It’s always fun hanging with family. I’m very blessed to have an unreal family. I want to thank everyone who has put in their email address on the right hand side to receive updates on the blog. Don’t forget you can also follow me on twitter @jordanswagerty for blog updates. God Bless!

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, which happens to be a day to really show your mom how much she is appreciated. I thought I would share with ya’ll about my mom, the one woman in this world who really is the backbone to our family. She has been there for me not only through this roller coaster of ups and downs of baseball but also in my personal life. My mom and I are very similar which at times causes us to bump heads but overall I know that she has my best interest. I wanted to take this platform of the blog to really let my mother know how thankful I am for her and everything she has done through out the years for me.

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My mom and I in Hawaii

 

From my childhood to now, my parents have always been very involved in my life. In the summertime when I first started playing baseball my mom would be at every practice and game making sure I was there on time and getting the best coaching I could. My freshman year of college at Arizona State, my parents bought a home in Phoenix on South Mountain so that they could make sure to be at every game I played. In fact, during college, my parents only missed four games. That was including away games as well!

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#Forkem

 

All the way up to pro ball currently, my mom has flown all over the country to support me whenever I was on the mound. She is not just there for the games though. When I found out I need Tommy John surgery back in 2012, she was the first person to book a flight and a hotel so she could be there with my through the surgery. In fact, my mom actually sent me and my girlfriend (to ensure I actually do it) this ‘secret’ remedy to help my elbow get better. I can’t reveal the secret, but I can tell you it is absolutely nasty. Mom knows best though!

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Springfield!

On the field and away from the field I can always count on my mom. One of my favorite things about her is her home-cooked meals. Her cooking is awesome and something I definitely have a hard time parting with whenever she leaves. The only time I don’t see much of her is when I’m in the deer woods. I am still trying to convert her to being a hunter, mostly so I can have some good cooking when I am out hunting…

With all this said I want to say Happy Mother’s Day Mom, thank you and I love you!

The past couple of weeks my arm has been feeling solid and I feel like I am getting closer everyday. Honestly, my arm is feeling better than it did when I was healthy, so no complaints here! The surgery is about a 12-16 month recovery stage and I am on that track. Being on this recovery has really made me appreciate everything I once had when it came to baseball and has really shown me to never overlook a single day when I am back on the mound.

 In a future blog, I might have a new grip to teach everyone. I have had plenty of time to watch baseball in the last month and I think a tough pitch to hit is the cutter. I have been fooling around with it and might try it next time I face hitters.

Kept the blog a bit shorter this week but as always God Bless and follow on Twitter @jordanswagerty

Pitching Lesson (and DisneyWorld)

Hey everyone back again and I think you will like the post this week. I am getting closer to being back in games so I have decided to give you a little bit of insight on myself and take you behind the scenes to let you see how I make my pitches do what they do and maybe even teach the younger guys a grip or two if you’re lucky! The other subject of discussion is one of my dreams came true last off day. I had my first trip to DisneyWorld and I will say it lived up to its expectations. We all had a ton of fun!

Back to the good stuff… Pitching. Anyone who knows me or has seen me play knows I am a high intensity player. I love flying out of the bullpen in the later innings with the music playing, knowing I have to get the last three outs in a tough game. I love the adrenaline rush and I love seeing fans in the seats and going out there to do my job. With all of that said, if you can’t throw strikes or have quality pitches, it really will be tough to get outs in any league, whether it’s high school or pro ball.

 

One thing I will start with for the young players and everyone reading is learn your pitches and get comfortable with them in any situation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 2-0 count or a 0-2 count , bases loaded or no one on, you have to know you can throw all of your pitches in that situation.

I’ll start with my four-seam fastball. This as well as the two-seam has got to be a go-to pitch and you have to be able to throw it at anytime. The four-seam will be a straighter pitch and should be the harder of my two fastballs. You can use this to get inside on a lefty’s hands as a right-handed pitcher or throw it up in the zone to blow it by someone. To go along with that I use a two-seam fastball as well. This may be a mile or two slower than the four-seam and I’m trying to get the ball to sink when I throw it, working on getting ground balls or quick outs. The less pitches you can throw in a inning or to each hitter, the longer you can stay in games. At the end of the day you don’t want to be pulled with a high pitch count early in the game consistently. You may not be the bullpen’s favorite!

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4-seam fastball grip

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Two-seam fastball grip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next let get into a little bit of the off-speed game and to be honest it is one of my favorites. This is where a young pitcher can really shine, being able to throw off-speed pitches for strikes. I throw a spike slider/curveball depending on the speed. I have found this grip is easy to control and really does have sharp movement. It will be harder than your traditional curveball and for myself it really is deceptive and comes out looking like a fastball. I grip on a different set of seams than most but you should play around with the grip and see what works best for you.

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Slider grip

 

The last pitch and for real young guys the first off-speed pitch you should learn is the change-up. I throw a circle change that is gripped exactly how it sounds. This is one of the most deceptive pitches in baseball and I think it is overlooked at the upper levels. It comes out looking exactly like a fastball but is 6-10 miles an hour slower which is a ton. If you can master this pitch you will notice a big difference throwing it in fastball counts which are typically counts where you are behind. Feel free to ask me questions in the comments below if you have anything you want to know.

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Changeup grip

 

Okay onto a little bit of a different subject: Disneyworld! What a trip! All done in one day. Literally woke up at 6 am and hit the road and pulled back in around 10pm. I had never been there and really had no idea what to expect. My sister SaraBeth, girlfriend Guin, and buddy and also fellow-TJ rehabber Jay Voss all packed it in the car and made the trip with me.

 

We started off at Magic Kingdom for Guin. Of course she loves all Disney movies, and we took pics in front of the castle, saw a performance, rode Space Mountain and had a coke float which was unreal because I was at Disneyworld. A side note: don’t hold your hands up on Space Mountain. It does get a little sketchy haha (low ceilings)… Next we were off to Animal Kingdom for Jay. All the guy could talk about for days is the animal safari! We saw so many cool animals, did the River Rapids and the Everest expedition. It had been a long day by this point so we went to Asia and grabbed some food from the locals which was unreal.

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Where dreams come true!

 

After we had a late lunch it was on to Hollywood to see if we were movie stars. We all got caught in a sketchy elevator at some Hollywood hotel which they call the Hollywood Tower of Terror. Turned out to be the best part of my day. We all rode it but Jay Voss got a bit scared and sat it out and viewed it from ground level. At the end of the day we all had a great day I left with a new coffee mug for the field and many memories I will always cherish. If you have never been there you have to check it out. You won’t regret it. I did forget one big part. It was raining the whole time so we did get a bit wet!

 

Mother’s Day is coming up soon everyone! I will be writing my next blog on my mother which means a lot to me so make sure in check in next week! Hope everyone has a good week. Check me out on twitter @jordanswagerty God bless!

 

 

Redbirds, Coco and Masters

So camp has finally ended and the season has started! As for myself, I am still in Jupiter so it almost feels like I am still in camp, except all my teammates are out playing ball. I’m continuing to throw off the mound and hoping to be in games soon!

Although I’d rather be playing, one of the positives of being an outsider is watching my buddies and how well they are playing.  One of my best buddies, Matt Adams who we all call “Patch” has been tearing it up. I watched the game where he hit another home run off the Brewers. Another game that was a great highlight was when Kyle Lohse faced the Cardinals and Shelby Miller threw a gem. How could you not love this game and watching the Redbirds?

Speaking of the Redbirds, what does everyone think about the new alternative jerseys? I got to wear the new jerseys on the winter warm up this year. We toured a few cities in the Midwest and had the honor of meeting with many of you guys, signed some autographs, and enjoyed a few days with Fernando Salas, Joe Kelly and Jon Jay. If you were there you would have seen me rocking the number 78. For more pics from the warm up, click here.

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What I wore during Cardinals winter warm up

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For all of you that have been keeping up with the blog you know that my girlfriend and I have got a new puppy. Last week I finally went down to Ft. Lauderdale to get her. She is a whopping 1.8 pounds and is a total sweetheart!  After a couple of weeks we have finally came up with a name for her, Chloe, Coco for short.

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She is our first girl and fits in perfectly with the other two Pomeranians. She may look black in the pictures but she is actually considered blue. She looks more charcoal with a blue tint to her skin.

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Lastly, for all of you keeping up with the Masters, what do ya’ll think about it??? Golf is a second passion for me, and when I am normally in good health, I play daily. This rehab for my arm has had me down with two of my passions unfortunately (pitching being the first, of course) but it is looking like I am on a good path to recovery.

Back to the Masters, I can say I was a little disappointed with the two-stroke penalty to Tiger Woods. I have watched it a few times on replay and they did get the ruling correct. However, mentally I think it took him out of it, which may have caused the bogey on the 18th. It was definitely a 2-stroke change, and possible a 3-stroke. I had a blast watching the tourney and seeing the competition.  The beauty of sports is you never really know what is going to happen no matter how good you are. For example, Bubba Watson, a personal favorite of mine, had a 10 on a hole in the final round!

Well guys, I am going to sign out hopefully soon I can bring you some game information on myself! I cannot wait to be back competing and playing on a team. I am going to continue working as hard as possible to climb the ranks to the big leagues. Thanks everyone who has been reading this on a regular basis. God Bless and remember to follow on twitter @jordanswagerty

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