Former Buc Swindle making pro debut tonightJune 22, 2004
By CSU Sports Information
|R. J. Swindle gets first professional start tonight|
WINOOSKI, VT - Former Charleston Southern star R.J. Swindle makes his professional debut tonight, June 22, as the starting pitcher for the Lowell Spinners in their class A game against the Vermont Expos.
Lowell is the short season Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and a member of the New York-Penn League. Swindle, a 14th-round draft pick of the Red Sox earlier this month, says beginning his professional career is a dream come true.
"I'm very excited to get started," said Swindle from his hotel room earlier in the day. "To finally be able to pitch as a professional, it's almost hard to believe."
Swindle, who had a year of college eligibility remaining at CSU, signed his professional contract after six days of negotiations with the Red Sox and never really considered a return to college.
"I'm ready to take my shot at pro ball," said CSU's career strikeout and win leader. "Being taken in the 14th round, I wasn't going to improve my stock with another year of college. I'm only a few classes from getting my degree and I figured now was the time. I had a great three years at Charleston Southern but it was time to move on."
Swindle says his new team, which resides less than a half hour from the parent Boston club in Lowell, Massachusetts, is off to a 1-3 start. However, the 6-3, lefty from Orlando, Florida says the community has made quite an impression already this season.
"We opened the season at home with a three-game homestand and all three games were sold out, like 5,000 people every night," said Swindle. "Baseball is taken very seriously here and the fans really seem to support our team. I think it's awesome."
Swindle becomes the second former CSU pitcher to be pitching currently on the professional level. Former Buc Matt Coenen, a second-round draft pick in 2001, is currently playing on the AA level with the Greenville Braves. Coenen has an 0-1 record in 17 relief appearances with a save this season. His current professional record is 24-21 overall.