Blake Swihart

David Butler II/USA Today Sports

The Blake Swihart redemption: From trade bait to staying put in course of 10 games

John Tomase
July 31, 2018 - 11:42 am
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Two and a half months ago, Blake Swihart reportedly requested a trade from the Red Sox. A month ago, it looked like he'd be little more than a deadline throw-in. But today?

He is effectively untradeable.

The Swihart that manager Alex Cora swore would make an impact if only he could find some playing time is finally here. Injuries to Christian Vazquez and Rafael Devers opened the door, and Swihart kicked it in.

On Monday night, he delivered his biggest moment in a Red Sox uniform, a walk-off double in the 13th inning that beat the Phillies, 2-1. Swihart earned multiple Gatorade soakings during his on-field NESN hit, and he then took the position of prominence in front of cameras in the center of the Red Sox clubhouse while starter David Price -- who would traditionally conduct the first postgame interview -- sat at his locker and waited his turn.

It just continued an outstanding run for Swihart, who has earned the trust of Cora behind the plate enough to catch the final four innings Monday. His game-winner extended his hitting streak to 10 games, during which time he's hitting .429 with a home run and three RBIs.

With the trade deadline looming on Tuesday at 4 p.m., Swihart has transformed himself from first out the door to not going anywhere.

"That's not even on my mind," Swihart said. "It never was then. This is where I'm at right now, and this is where my focus is."

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski saluted Swihart's resilience.

"Blake's a good player," he said. "He was in a very unfortunate situation early in the year. We still liked him, he's a player, he didn't have an opportunity to play very much at the time and it was just circumstances. We had two catchers in front of him, had a good solid club all the way around, but now you can see as time goes on, he continues to play, he's a very good catcher. He's improved.

"One thing about him, I tip my cap to him, I've told him this, he worked hard all the time, he worked hard with Jason Varitek and with (Chad Epperson) on his catching so you can see his catching has improved, he throws well and he can swing the bat so we're thrilled that he's with us and now he's getting an opportunity to play."

Swihart credits the support of Cora, who opened spring training by comparing Swihart to Astros utility knife Marwin Gonzalez, but then admitted he was having a hard time finding him at-bats once the season started.

"Everybody knew what was going on early," Cora said. "It was tough to play him. We had three catchers and it's tough to play three catchers at the big league level. He kept working and working and had his chance and I felt he was trying to do too much, but now he got a second chance. It sucks that it's because of an injury, but this is the way the game works and he's taking advantage of it. He's calling a good game, blocking balls, he made a great throw last week, swinging the bat. I'm very happy for him."

Related content:

Tomase: Ian Kinsler another shrewd pickup as Red Sox load up for October run.

Dombrowski suggests Red Sox might be done adding pieces as trade deadline looms.

 

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