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Schwimer happy for fresh start with Blue Jays

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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Following a year filled with controversy, Michael Schwimer has an opportunity for a fresh start with the Blue Jays.

Schwimer, who was acquired from the Phillies on Saturday in exchange for Minor Leaguer Art Charles, garnered a lot of attention in Philadelphia last year because of a right-biceps injury.

The Phillies attempted to send Schwimer to the Minors midway through last season instead of placing him on the disabled list. Schwimer did not report to Triple-A Lehigh and the Players' Association reportedly is still looking into the matter on his behalf.

Despite all of the attention the situation received last season -- and again this spring -- Schwimer did his best on Sunday to downplay the rumors.

"My relationship with the Phillies is actually a very good one despite what people say and read and think," Schwimer said on his first day at camp. "People tend to blow up and make big things out of things that really aren't. I like the Phillies and I believe they like me.

"It was just a situation of the bullpen, they had a ton of bullpen guys on the 40-man roster and you can't play with that many players. Something had to give and they like what they got in return from the Blue Jays, so that's why I'm here."

Schwimer joins the Blue Jays with an opportunity to compete for a job in the bullpen, but faces an uphill battle to make the team. Assistant general manager Jay Sartori already informed him that with the veteran relievers and other pitchers out of options on the roster he's unlikely to head north.

That's just fine with Schwimer, though, who said he will have no problem reporting to Triple-A Buffalo at the start of the year. Once there, it's very possible he will be a candidate for a promotion if the Blue Jays' pitching staff suffers any injuries during the year.

"It's competition and I love competition," said Schwimer, who went 2-1 with a 4.46 ERA in 34 1/3 innings last season. "Right now, I would certainly say I'm not the odds-on favorite and I'm fine being in that position.

"I'm just going to try to make the front office's decision really hard. That's my goal. Come in here and compete my butt off, and hopefully good things will happen."

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