When Pirates slugger Josh Bell got invited to the Home Run Derby, the first person he called was Hilton native Jon Schwind.
“Better not screw it up,” Bell said to Schwind on a FaceTime chat. “I was like, ‘What?!? You want me to pitch to you?’ He was like, ‘yea man you are coming with me’.”
Bell and Schwind met when they were both drafted by the Pirates in 2011.
Their first season didn’t go so well.
“Within a span of the first few weeks we both got hurt, so we rehabbed in Florida,” Schwind said. “That’s kinda where the bond got the started.”
Rehab is slow time. Bell and Schwind filled the hours together.
“I’m not even a big video game guy,” Schwind said. “But it was just something to do and a way we were able to socialize with learn more about each other in the game.”
They played and lived together the next three seasons. Injuries ended up derailing Schwind’s playing career, but it opened up his eyes to coaching hitters.
“I came across some things that were really impactful and simple that I wish I had learned earlier,” Schwind said. “I just studied a bunch of different things and learned a lot about how the body is supposed to move.”
He’s currently the assistant hitting coach and third base coach for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.
Schwind isn’t sure where he wants coaching to take him. For now, it’ll take him to Cleveland next week.
He just wants to see his friend succeed.
“I just want to see his first look when he gets on the field,” Schwind said. “He just wants to share it with as many people as possible. If he could take 5 pitchers, he would take 5 pitchers.”
Schwind gets his chance to throw meatballs on national TV Monday in Cleveland.