Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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5 questions with a camp hopeful
Posted Feb 23, 2010 by Tribune Sports
Updated Feb 23, 2010 at 08:13 PM
PORT CHARLOTTE - Our five questions with a Rays player for Wednesday’s Tribune is with a pitcher who isn’t on the 40-man roster and probably won’t break camp with the team but has an interesting story nevertheless.
Meet 26-year-old R.J. Swindle, whom the Rays signed to a minor league contract last November. The lefty appeared in three games for the Phillies in 2008 and six for the Brewers last year and finished last season with with Triple-A Columbus (Indians).
Five questions with R.J. Swindle:
Q How does a player from Vancouver make it to the brink of the major leagues?
A “I actually grew up in Orlando. I was home-schooled, but I was able to play at University Christian, a 6A school. I actually got my number retired within the last few months. I was pretty good in high school, tops in the county in ERA and all that stuff. So I was able to get a college scholarship out of it (from Charleston Southern).”
Q Are both of your parents Canadian?
A “Neither. My dad grew up just south of the border in Bellingham, Wash., and he had a sister up there, so they were living close to them. He was actually working as a lumberjack in the foothills of the Vancouver mountains, looking for a job. He’s an engineer now. My mom grew up in Cocoa Beach.”
Q So you don’t have any extra interest in the Vancouver Olympics?
A “Well, I played in the last one (pitched for Team Canada in the Beijing Games), so I’m pretty interested. I had some buddies that were part of the torch lighting ceremony, so I’ve been pretty glued to it, just from having been part of the Olympic experience.”
Q Who is your favorite major-league pitcher of all-time?
A “Well, I got to talk to him, so I’d say Jamie Moyer. With my dad being from up near Seattle, we watched when he pitched for the Mariners. And then I actually got to play with him a little in Philly (briefly in 2008). I’d say he’s pretty high up there with me being a soft lefty and seeing what he’s been able to do his whole career.”
Q What would you drive if you could afford any car?
A “A real top-of-the-line BMW is what I always thought I would like. I have a Tahoe (SUV) now, but I always had junky cars up until this last season.”