Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Blake Swihart is still here, and he might actually play

Rob Bradford
May 25, 2018 - 5:17 pm

Most everyone thought by the time Friday rolled around Blake Swihart wouldn't still be with the Red Sox, perhaps even including his manager.

"I think the situation changes," said Alex Cora. At one point everybody, we thought, that it was going to be the move. And it’s not."

And how about the player? 

Start with Swihart's way of thinking of late, knowing a roster spot would need to be opened up with Dustin Pedroia returning.

"The last couple of weeks I knew something had to happen," he said. "I didn’t know what the move would be. Honestly, I thought about it. How can I not think about it the whole time?"

Then there was that plane ride back from Tampa late Thursday night. As it turned out, Hanley Ramirez was the one who Dave Dombrowski and Cora summoned to the manager's office around 3:30 a.m. to offer the news that the slugger was going to be designated for assignment. But for the entire three-hour flight, it was Swihart who was the one bracing himself for such a get-together.

"Just that I might be getting a phone call or be called in the office when I got there," he said when asked about his mindset on the way home. "It was kind of weird, but I understood the situation."

But Swihart is still here. And not only is he here, it appears as though the 26-year-old might actually get in some games.

"I do feel, little by little, the way we talk in the locker room, why not? We’ve been going a long time with the two guys," said Cora when asked the possibility of Swihart getting some more time at catcher, where he has seen just two innings this season. "Obviously [Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon are] swinging the bat better. They’re doing a lot better. But I do think there will be certain spots we feel he can catch. That bat in the lineup will help us out. He only has a handful of at-bats so it’s not fair to throw him out now and say, ‘He’s 0-for-10 so he’s struggling.’ No, no, no. We’ll give him his at-bats, get him ready and I do feel he’s going to contribute.

"The game that opened my eyes was when he came in last week. It was a two-run game, Steven comes in and he didn’t blink. I was like, ‘That worked.’ For him to come in to come in and catch a knuckleballer after not catching since Fort Myers or whenever the last time he caught, that caught my eye. The conversations start going and I have to see, we have to see it. But that day was the day I was like, ‘This, we can do something here.’"

The other spot Swihart might find himself is at first base, which has been freed up a bit by Ramirez's departure.

The switch-hitter noted he did spend two months playing the position for Team USA back as an 18-year-old, but has very limited experience as a professional. He made his big league debut at first this season, manning the spot for four innings, having experienced the position on a very limited basis both at Triple-A and in spring training.

"He played in spring training. I know he played a lot of positions in spring training. He played third, left, I think he played second. But we haven't used him. We talk about it but he’ll work on it," Cora said. "Whenever we do feel ready, might be tomorrow, he’s going to play first."

"I’m going to start getting more work at first. I know Mitch is willing to help me," said Swihart, who entered Friday night with just 33 plate appearances. "He’s really good over there around the base. I’ll do whatever to help this team."

Comments ()