USA Today Sports

Blake Swihart continues to build a case for himself

Connor Donahue
August 23, 2018 - 5:15 pm

When Mitch Moreland exited Thursday’s game with a left knee contusion, skipper Alex Cora didn’t call on Steve Pearce to replace him at first base. It was utility man Blake Swihart’s time to show what he can do.

Swihart answered the bell, going 2-for-4 at the plate while playing impressive defense at first base. His bases-loaded double in the fifth inning knocked in two runs and gave the Sox the lead for good.

“Blake came in, it’s not an easy job, and he made a few big plays at first base,” Cora said postgame. “The double play at the end, that was pretty good. And then he puts a good swing on it.”

Swihart’s game-winning RBI was his second in as many games and his third of the season. His single in the sixth inning made Thursday his fifth multi-hit game of the season.

“I’m just always ready, that’s kind of been my role this year, always being ready,” Swihart said. “I get my practice done before the game and make sure my body is ready for whatever happens.”

Usually playing behind the plate, Swihart took over first and flashed the leather a few times, most notably salvaging a low throw by David Price with a bare-handed catch off a bobble.

“I haven’t been [at first base] a lot lately, I’ve been focusing on catching,” Swihart said. “I just try not to do too much and stay within myself.”

Swihart, who has struggled for much of this season, continues to make a case to be included in Cora’s plans going forward.

Since June 26, Swihart has gone 18-for-56 at the plate with 11 runs, five doubles, six RBI’s and a home run. In that span he’s raised his average from .149 to .223, so it seems there may be a newfound comfort level for the 26-year-old.

“I think it’s the team in general, just knowing my role,” Swihart explained. “Having conversations with other players, having conversations with coaches and just knowing what’s expected of me when I get in there and what’s expected at every position. Just being ready, that’s all it is, I just need to make sure I’m ready.”