By KEVIN OKLOBZIJA
Jon Schwind‘s playing career came to an end after the 2017 season, before he ever swung a bat in an official Major League game, yet he’ll still be in Cleveland for the MLB All-Star festivities.
Pittsburgh Pirates slugging first baseman Josh Bell chose Schwind to be his pitcher during the Home Run Derby on July 8 at Progressive Field.
Schwind, a former three-sport athlete at Hilton High School, was Bell’s teammate and roommate for two years in the Pirates system. Bell will be making his first All-Star appearance and was selected to participate in the home run contest. The switch-hitting Bell leads the Pirates with 22 homers.
“Very excited for him,” Schwind said via text message Sunday night.
Schwind, 29, is an assistant hitting instructor with Pittsburgh’s Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians. The 2008 All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year is also Indy’s third-base coach.
The Pirates are the only organization Schwind has known. They chose him on the 41st round of the 2011 draft, following his junior season at Marist College. His energetic, gung-ho approach to the game, along with his talent and versatility, enabled him to play seven pro seasons.
Schwind was honored by the Pirates after the 2016 season with the Community Commitment Award while playing at Double-A Altoona. The Pirates recognize one player at each level each season for their community involvement.
He joined the Indy coaching staff this year.
Indianapolis visits Frontier Field for a three-game set on July 26-28th.