Cardinals' Swagerty Returns From Injury





ST. LOUIS — Righthander Jordan Swagerty visited St. Louis in January for the team's fanfest and for an important checkup with the team's medical staff.

It was before signing autographs at the former that he heard three glorious words from the latter. His arm, almost a year removed from Tommy John surgery, is "full go now."

"I met with (trainers), ran some tests," Swagerty said. "They're pleased with them and I don't think (there will be any restrictions). At this point it's all about how I rebound when I throw more consistently."

Swagerty came to spring training in 2012 with a chance to make an impression. He left requiring surgery. After two bullpens, soreness gripped his right elbow and eventually resulted in surgery and a lost season. He split the summer between his home in Phoenix and the Cardinals' complex in Jupiter, Fla., working to rehab his elbow while also building up strength in what he described as the shoulder muscles that are too often ignored.

Swagerty will not be trying to win a major league job this spring. Instead of coming to Jupiter with a chance to impress the major league staff, he'll try to show he's healthy enough to slide back into the system and earn a future callup. His role will be telling.

A closer at Arizona State, he spent his first pro season rocketing through the system as both a starter and a reliever. Swagerty pitched at three levels in his pro debut, from low Class A to Double-A Springfield. Overall, he went 5-3, 1.83 in 2011 with eight saves and 89 strikeouts in 94 innings. He fits the mold of late-inning relief, and the Cardinals continue to believe he'll be a quick riser.

"I have no idea what (role) they have in store for me," Swagerty said. "I've never been more anxious for spring."

REDBIRD CHIRPS

• Righthander Shelby Miller alarmed the Cardinals last year when he reported to spring training with a frame that, while muscular, had also shed about 20 pounds. Miller joked later that he was going for a "beach body." This spring, he'll arrive closer to the target 225. "I know the light body doesn't really work for me now," he said, "so we're going to stay away from that."

•  General manager John Mozeliak said at the club's fanfest that if either top prospects Oscar Taveras or Kolten Wong broke camp in the majors it would be a "bad formula" because it would mean a regular had sustained a serious injury.