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Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Ex-Mariner Swan, 42, dies after fall

KENNEWICK — Russ Swan, a left-handed pitcher who compiled a 6-2 record with the Mariners in 1991, died last Wednesday from complications from a fall, his sister told the Tri-City Herald. He was 42.

Swan, a Kennewick High graduate who spent parts of six seasons with three major-league teams, the Mariners, San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians, died at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Swan's sister, Michelle, said he was taken to the hospital April 17 after being found unconscious at the bottom of a stairwell in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., without his wallet or identification papers.

"He had been doing better," she told the Herald. "Last Sunday [April 23] they ran a CAT scan and the data was showing he had been improving. Then [Wednesday] a code blue was called, and he was gone. They thought the cause was a blood clot."

Doctors believed Swan had been stabilized before the sudden change on Wednesday "but they weren't sure of the extent of the head injury," said Leo Price, a longtime friend.

Swan enrolled at Spokane Community College, then Texas A&M and was drafted three times — in January 1984 by the Houston Astros, that June by the Mariners and in June 1986 by the Giants, with whom he finally signed.

He made his major-league debut with the Giants on Aug. 3, 1989, but was traded to the Mariners the next May. His best season was with Seattle in 1991, when he posted a 3.43 earned-run average in 63 appearances to go with that 6-2 record.

"He was a great guy, a soft-spoken, good-hearted guy," recalled Dave Valle, a former teammate and now an M's broadcaster. "It's terrible news. He was a wonderful teammate."

Swan's playing career ended in 1994 when he was released by the Indians after compiling a 14-22 career record in 168 appearances. He later became a pitching coach at Washington State University and in the Colorado Rockies organization.

Survivors include Swan's wife, Mellissa, daughter Erin and son Kelly.

Times reporter Larry Stone contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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