He only appeared in 10 games for Cleveland before being sent to the minors, but not before then-pitching coach Callaway gave him some advice.
“I got sent down over there and he was one of the last guys I talked to and he told me that there were some things that I needed to get better at,” Swarzak said. “Most of it was in the weight room and really dedicating myself off the field.
“I didn’t really want to hear it at the time. But I took his advice and here we are three years later and I’m better than ever and throwing harder and doing things athletically in my delivery that I couldn’t do before. I know that’s what he was trying to get at, and I thank him now.”
Swarzak struggled the following season with the New York Yankees, registering a 5.52 ERA with a 6.11 FIP in 26 outings (31.0 innings pitched).
However, the right-hander put the pieces of the puzzle together last season with the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, logging a 2.33 ERA, 2.74 FIP and 1.034 WHIP over 77.1 innings pitched.
“It was the next year removed from when I had my conversation with Mickey. And it was that offseason that I really dedicated myself to getting into the gym,” he said. “I felt stronger and I was bigger and I didn’t really know how to work with all of that.
“I’m not making excuses, the stuff was there. I just had to get better at it. I wasn’t good enough at that time. I’m better now.”
The Mets are hoping Swarzak will be a key component to the success of their bullpen in 2018. Him, along with Jeurys Familia, A.J. Ramos and Jerry Blevins will anchor the back end, with Callaway utilizing a closer-by-committee philosophy.
Swarzak believes that him and the rest of the guys can make up one of the best bullpens in baseball.
“At the end of it all, all that matters is if you win the World Series or not,” he said. “So what does it matter if I’m pitching in the ninth or I’m pitching in the sixth? I’m going to be down there ready to go, working hard, and when that phone rings, that’s all I worry about. […] I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.”