WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Anthony Swarzak didn't miss a beat. The Mets' right-handed reliever made his first appearance since straining a left calf muscle covering first base in a Feb. 27 game. He needed only 10 pitches to complete a perfect fifth inning in the Mets' 9-7 win over
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Anthony Swarzak didn't miss a beat. The Mets' right-handed reliever made his first appearance since straining a left calf muscle covering first base in a Feb. 27 game. He needed only 10 pitches to complete a perfect fifth inning in the Mets' 9-7 win over the Nationals on Saturday.
Swarzak's first pitch, a fastball, clocked in at 93 mph, and six of his 10 pitches were thrown for strikes. He got a pair of fly balls and a popup in an inning that couldn't have gone better.
"It felt great. It felt great to compete. It felt good to be in a Mets uniform out there and facing some hitters. It was just an all-in-all good day," said Swarzak, who added that he feels as though he's back on track. "Pitching in games now, and we'll see how many games I can get in before Spring Training and see where we're at. But I feel great."
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Swarzak last pitched in a simulated game on Wednesday, and he had tossed 1 2/3 innings in two Grapefruit League outings before Saturday, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits, one walk and two strikeouts.
"It's good to have him back out there," said manager Mickey Callaway. "He's looked great in the sim games. It's good to have him back there on the actual mound knowing he has to go cover first or something like that, and he looked great."
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Callaway said there are no restrictions on Swarzak, whom he expects to be ready for Opening Day.
Continuing a throwing regimen was the key to a successful return, according to Swarzak.
"That was whole thing with the throwing process that we were doing while my calf wasn't feeling too good, was trying to just keep my arm in shape so I can step right back in," Swarzak said. "And it seems like the plan has worked.
"We've got a great training staff here. They got me healthy, and now I'm back in the game. So try to build off of that and keep it going."
Swarzak pitched in a career-high 70 games last season, splitting time with the White Sox and Milwaukee. He also posted career bests in ERA (2.33) and strikeouts (91) over 77 1/3 innings.
In his first full-time look at National League hitters, Swarzak pitched 29 games for the Brewers. He went 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA and recorded one save in two opportunities. He struck out 39 and walked just nine. Opposing batters hit just .202 off Swarzak.
Swarzak joined the Mets on a two-year deal in December.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Mets on Saturday.