Results tagged ‘ St. Louis Cardinals ’

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

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!

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

Family Time

One week left everyone, and a lot is going on! Wanted to take some time to let everyone know a little bit about my last week personally and a few things you might have missed at camp! I have been very fortunate that my family rented a place down here in Palm Beach and it has been a blast getting to hang with them every day.

My dad turned 55 this last week so I did get to enjoy his birthday with him. If you have ever been to Spring Training down here in Florida, I hope you have had a chance to stop by and eat at Jetty’s! It is by far my favorite place in the city and they really do have some unbelievable food. This is where I took my dad for his birthday and we truly had a great time. I went with the Hawaiian filet and I really wish I had a picture of it. It tastes almost like Hawaiian chicken but with a tender filet. Then we celebrated with a cake afterwards!

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Happy birthday Dad!

For all the dog lovers out there my girlfriend Guin and myself are looking at another puppy. We have really enjoyed the two that we have who are both males and we are thinking about adding a female to the pack. What do y’all think?? We have been looking for a while and found one that is a little bit more rare. She’s beautiful chocolate with brown in her coat which is pretty rare to find.

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What should we name her?

The last thing before we get to baseball is I am pretty pumped to have my sister in town for a few days. For those of you who don’t know her, her name is SaraBeth and she is a up-and-coming country artist. She has been on the road for the last few weeks doing a radio tour with many different radio stations where she would go in do a live concert and introduce her new songs to the listeners. If you get a chance check out out on Twitter at @SBSwags and her album Kickin’ and Screamin’ on iTunes!

Okay now on to what everyone wants to hear! Let’s talk baseball!! Things are looking good out there on the practice fields. There are many guys out there really bringing it and starting to make a name for themselves. I’m sure everyone knows Michael Wacha. He is bringing it and is looking strong, throwing it hard and mixing it up well. One of my good buddies Seth Blair is really commanding the strike zone well and getting people out.

To be honest there is really good baseball being played this camp. Guys are really hitting their stride early. It is very smooth baseball, meaning guys are making the plays in the field, pitchers are looking sharp really making pitches, and hitters are putting good swings on balls. It’s clear there was a lot of hard work put in this offseason, which is always good to see.

As for myself, I’m feeling strong! Rehab has been going great. We really have a great staff of guys that have been working with me and making sure I continue I head in the right direction! It really feels good to say I am facing hitters and my arm feels great!

One thing you might not know about me is I really am one of the most competitive people there is. I love being able to get back on the mound now and have fun. I love seeing hitters in the box. I love to compete and be able to throw all of my pitches at them and try to get them out. It has been a great camp because I get to compete again and that is one thing I have truly missed while I was rehabbing on my way back.

See you on twitter @jordanswagerty God bless!

A Day at the Ballpark

A few weeks into camp and time is flying! I am back to living and breathing baseball, seven days a week, 8 hours a day. What I am really looking forward to is the countdown to game time. It feels like just yesterday I was showing up to the field and getting everything put into my locker.

These first few weeks have been a ton of fun. The only down part has been the weather in South Florida. Who would have thought I would need my jacket almost every day of camp? It is making it hard for me to get anytime at the beach. Camp is in full swing now so here’s a dosage of my daily grind.

I am sure my teammates who weren’t off a whole season are looking at it more as a grind but it’s feeling fresh to me! The only thing is hearing my 8 different alarm clocks go off to make sure I am up at 6 am. I even have my girlfriend set her alarm to call me in the morning to make sure I am up, so I guess I am up to 9 alarms. Once I get past that, the fun begins.

I start my morning one of two ways; there is a chef at the field for breakfast, which has been awesome this year. It helps keep me on-track for nutrition. However, the other way is hitting up Bagel Boys, not all that nutritional but I definitely recommend it if you’re out here!

The next part of my day is getting ready in the training room. I have learned that the best way I have kept up with training is to get your work in before you go out to the field.  Everything physically that you can do to better yourself is key to getting stronger every day. The smallest things such as stretches, warm-ups, and strengthening exercises are what makes us better us as athletes and make us all around ready for season.

Personally, I have seen a huge difference in my pitching just by working on my flexibility. It is a big part of pitching so that has been my focus. After I am done in the training room I head back to my locker and have about 30 minutes before I head out to the field.

Flow is back for 2013

Flow is back for 2013

At the field I sometimes have some spare time to check out the stock market which I have become extremely interested in. I take time to read up on any potential trades or what is going on during that day.  I never understood the hype of stocks until I fully involved myself daily in it. I guess it is just like baseball for me, you have to put your all into it to really succeed.

Next its time to roll!  We’re in the quad at the complex in Jupiter. We will start off as a team, get the info for the day on what we all need to do. This really makes the day flow together when everyone knows where to be there and when. Once we know our daily plan we head off to our fields to stretch.

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Finally, my favorite part of my day: throwing.  After being out with Tommy John surgery and not being able to throw, it feels so new and fun. After we throw we will do some type of pitching drills then shag some BP for the hitters. I usually stand right by the fence and try to rob some home runs. Once batting practice is over we go back to the clubhouse for lunch.  After lunch, it’s time to watch the games. I check out how my buddies are doing, and maybe see some things I may try to pick up on to better my game.

Feels good to let loose!

Feels good to let loose!

This is my third Spring Training, but it almost feels like my first since I have been out for a year. Everything is very new and exciting. I truly couldn’t ask for a better job. I get to hang with my buddies, do what I love and progress myself as a person on the daily. Everyone reading this, if you have a chance, check out Spring Training either here in Florida or Arizona and catch some baseball!

See you on Twitter at @JordanSwagerty! God bless!

Back to SWAG

What’s up Cardinal nation and baseball fans??? My name is Jordan Swagerty and I’m a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals organization. I was drafted in the 2nd round in 2010 after playing at Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!).

I’m excited for the opportunity to blog about the everyday things that you may not hear about. I did a blog two years ago when I pitched in the Arizona Fall League (see links on right hand column) and enjoyed the experience. It has been a while since I have been involved in my normal baseball routine, so I’ll give you a recap of what happened.

Last year, when I was feeling on top of the world, I suddenly had to get Tommy John surgery. Let’s just say the least of my worries was the huge scar it left. Although it was a very low time in my life, I have had a lot of positive things that have come out of catching a bad break in the 24/7 life of baseball and I’d like to share them with you!

I was coming off a good season in 2011 and ready to start the 2012 season. I had an exciting opportunity to be at the big league camp and was ready to get the ball rolling. The only problem was I had a bone spur in the back of my elbow that was causing stabilization on my ligament in my elbow. I threw two bullpens in camp and was shut down. I originally thought I would just be out for a couple of weeks. That was not the case by any means. I would need surgery not only to file down the bone spur but also to reconstruct my UCL. I left camp and flew to LA to have my surgery done.

Now the fun part of rehab begins! When you think of being in rehab it might not sound like a lot of fun but I guess it could depend on who your physical therapist is and who the guys around you are. I got to rehab in Phoenix, Arizona, right by where I went to college. Already a positive, I had a lot of my core group of friends around me which helped keep my mind off the first few weeks of this new life I was about to start living and conquering.  Luckily, the PT facility I was at housed one of the best therapists, Keith Kocher. Not only is he a cool guy but he also shares a passion of mine; hunting and we were able to talk about it every day during my PT session.

The PT facility had about ten other rehabbers that also played baseball, which helped a lot of us become close since we were all in the same boat. It wasn’t always fun doing the exercises and lifting the light weights to get healthy again but I knew it had to be done to get back to where I wanted to be.

The next thing that made the last year of rehab do-able is I found many new hobbies. One that I never thought I would enjoy doing is reading. I read books that had to do with business, such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad, The ABC’s to Real Estate Investing by Ken McElroy and Millionaire by Halftime by my dad Presley Swagerty.

I also found out I really love going to the shooting range and firing off a few rounds.

The last thing and maybe the best is I did get two new puppies with my girlfriend, named Harlow and Oliver. Let me tell you, coming home to the pups is the highlight of my day. You can even follow them on Twitter @HarlowandOliver and Instagram!

Oliver on the left, Harlow on the right

Oliver on the left, Harlow on the right

Now it’s back to baseball time here in Palm Beach, Florida.  The games haven’t started yet but man, I’m eager to get rolling. It feels great to be back with the guys again. Being away for a year makes you feel a little distant when everyone else is still playing. I’m back to facing hitters again and getting to compete, which is something that has always been instilled in me.

As Zig Ziglar says, “attitude not aptitude determines your altitude” which I would say accurately described my past year of sitting on the bench, if you will. We will all go through adversity in our life but it’s how you handle it which really molds your character. Rehab was not the best process but I would say it has made me grow in every aspect of my life.

If you want some daily updates on the season or what I’m up to, follow me on Twitter @jordanswagerty. I am always up for comments, suggestions for the blog or maybe you just want me to touch on a subject, just let me know! God Bless! #SWAG