Michael Schwimer traded to Blue Jays

Michael Schwimer should not be here. The Phillies had every reason to cut ties this winter. They did not. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Scott Proefrock walked through the Phillies clubhouse during the eighth inning of Saturday's Grapefruit League game with papers in his hand. The assistant general manager instructed a clubhouse attendant to find pitcher Michael Schwimer.

Schwimer was in the Phillies bullpen, exactly where one is supposed to be when scheduled to pitch. Except Schwimer was no longer a Phillie. He had been traded during the game to Toronto for Art Charles, a minor-league first baseman.

"Very surprised," Schwimer said.

This, in reality, was a move months in the making. Schwimer had angered the organization twice last season; first, by announcing roster moves on Twitter and, second, by disputing the team's decision to send him to triple A in August.

Both Schwimer and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said those incidents had nothing to do with Saturday's trade. Nonetheless, the Phillies dealt a 27-year-old arm with big-league experience for a 22-year-old first baseman who has never played above single A.

"It's an arm that should pitch in the big leagues," pitching coach Rich Dubee said of Schwimer. "He's got plenty of talent to pitch in the big leagues."

Schwimer said the players' union has not closed an inquiry into whether he was optioned to the minors while injured. That is against Major League Baseball's rules. The Phillies said Schwimer was healthy. The pitcher claimed a biceps ailment.

He can file a grievance with the union to seek lost service time and back pay up to approximately $75,000.

"It's still definitely an open issue," Schwimer said.

The Phillies had 13 relievers on their 40-man roster, and Amaro noted there would be a roster crunch to come before opening day. In 2012, Schwimer pitched more innings (34 1/3) than any Phillies reliever not named Jonathan Papelbon or Antonio Bastardo.

"This is a business," Schwimer said. "Everybody has to do what they think will make the team better. I respect their decision completely. I absolutely loved my time with the Phillies. They drafted me in 2008, called me up to the big leagues and if I wasn't a Phillie I would never have met my wife."

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