'Stupid 15-second thing' costly for Twins' Swarzak

Twins righthander Anthony Swarzak lamented cracking two ribs goofing off at TwinsFest.

FORT MYERS, FLA. - Twins righthander Anthony Swarzak receives a reminder of the events of Jan. 25 every time he gets out of bed or rises from a sofa -- discomfort in his left side.

He is beginning to feel better, but the pain of blowing his chance to start the season on the major league pitching staff -- and possibly the starting rotation -- won't go away anytime soon.

Swarzak has arrived in Fort Myers to join other Twins pitchers and catchers in spring training workouts that will begin Wednesday. The righthander had a good chance to start the season in the bullpen, and an outside chance to crack the rotation. Instead, there are two cracked ribs on his left side, the result of horseplay at the Graves Hotel, where players stayed during TwinsFest last month.

"It wasn't even an event of some kind," Swarzak said. "It was a stupid 15-second thing that I'm paying for for the next month. It's crazy. It was a freak thing and it stinks."

Now Swarzak will be out two to three more weeks -- and be careful -- as the ribs heal. By then, he will be behind the rest of pitchers in camp.

"It's just an unfortunate situation that shouldn't have happened," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said.

Swarzak would not name the other player involved in the shenanigans. He said they both fell down but there was no malice intended, just horseplay.

Swarzak returned to his home in Florida and resumed workouts and throwing. But when the discomfort continued, he had his ribs checked out. The toughest part, Swarzak said, was informing the Twins.

"Very tough," he said. "One of those situations where you just have to bite the bullet and face the music. I messed up. I wasn't going to lie about anything and try to make a bad situation worse by lying. I'm a man, it happened. What are we going to do about it?"

Swarzak, 27, was 3-6 with a 5.03 ERA in 44 games last season. He was 3-1 with a 4.05 ERA in 39 games as a reliever and 0-5 with an 8.10 ERA in five starts. But Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson asked him to approach his offseason work as if he was going to be a starter. The Twins added Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia during the offseason to boost the rotation, but wanted to have as many options as possible.

With Scott Diamond slowed by a bone chip in his elbow, Nick Blackburn out because of wrist surgery and Kyle Gibson coming back from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, the Twins wanted Swarzak as another option. The injury will keep Swarzak from being an option until after the season begins.

Lefthnader Brian Duensing and righthanders Cole De Vries, Samuel Deduno and P.J. Walters appear to form the next line of options if the Twins need to look elsewhere for starters.

Ryan said Swarzak was aware of the opportunity.

"We got past it," Ryan said. "Now he's gonna go through the rehab. He's not going to be able to go through much of anything with bad ribs. So we will take our time with him and make sure when he is ready to go out and participate that he doesn't go out too quick."

Swarzak has learned his lesson about horseplay.

"We're a great group of guys here and we all get along great," Swarzak said. "This is just an example of getting along too great sometimes."

Etc.

• Infielder Eddie Rosario (Puerto Rico), righthander Jose Berrios (Puerto Rico) and lefthander Andrew Albers (Canada) have been brought in to major league camp so they can work out in advance of next month's World Baseball Classic. Rosario, who will play the outfield for Puerto Rico, and Berrios are considered two of the Twins' best prospects.

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