Swift (19-8) is in his first year as a full-time starter. He had never pitched more than 165 innings in a season until he pushed into the 200s this month. There was plenty of reason to believe that his arm was giving out during the six-game slump, but he hasn't given up a run since he passed the 200-inning mark.
He has won his past two games and strung together 19 scoreless innings. He has looked so strong that manager Dusty Baker probably will go with a four-man rotation for the final eight games of the season.
"I feel like it's the beginning of the year," he said. "My fastball is a lot harder than it has been, and my slider is sharp. I've never been in this territory before, but so far it has been pretty good."
The Angels completed their front-office shuffle last week, appointing Bill Bavasi assistant general manager, after the firing of Dan O'Brien, and former Angels pitcher Ken Forsch to take over Bavasi's previous role as director of minor-league operations.
In a heart-warming twist, Bavasi was given the office that was occupied by his father, Buzzie Bavasi, when he was the general manager of the club.
Grace wants to stay
There are rumors in Chicago that the Cubs will trade first baseman Mark Grace in an attempt to bolster the pitching staff and cut the payroll at the same time, but he said last week that he would prefer to remain with the club.
"As far as long-term circumstances are concerned, I will -- under the right circumstances -- take less money to play for the Cubs," said Grace, who is having a career year.
He'll be eligible for arbitration after the season, so anyone interested in acquiring him would have to give up a quality pitcher and expect to pay him about $4.5 million for the 1994 season.
Who was the last Orioles player to strike out against Nolan Ryan?
The White Sox acquired right-hander Tim Belcher from the Cincinnati Reds in July to add experience to the starting rotation for the pennant stretch and the postseason, but it doesn't appear as if he'll be in the White Sox's playoff rotation.
Manager Gene Lamont will go with a four-man postseason rotation, and he appears to be leaning toward a couple of hot young arms for the two spots behind Jack McDowell and Alex Fernandez.
Left-hander Wilson Alvarez has won six straight decisions since returning from a minor-league assignment, and rookie Jason Bere enters tonight's start with a five-game winning streak.
Belcher, meanwhile, has yet to beat a team with a winning record. Lamont apparently thinks that the two youngsters can handle the pressure.
"I think what they've been through already shows me that they are two pretty poised guys," Lamont said. "Jason has won some big games. Wilson has won some big games. I'll be confident with either one."
The last Orioles player to get a whiff of Ryan was center fielder Mike Devereaux, who struck out in the third inning of Ryan's final appearance against the Orioles on Aug. 21.