One day later, Blake Swihart dealing with family tragedy

Rob Bradford
February 28, 2019 - 10:48 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The day after dealing with the tragic death of his 23-year-old brother, Blake Swihart was trying to get back to business.

Swihart was in the Red Sox' starting lineup against the Nationals Thursday, hitting sixth and serving as the designated hitter.

"Whatever he wants, he'll do," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "That's what I told him yesterday. 'You tell me, we'll do it. We're here for you.' We've all been through this somehow someway throughout our lives. We all deal with it different ways. He wants to play, he'll go out there and do his thing. Yeah."

Cora led off his morning media with the media updating Swihart's situation, while also reflecting on how the team handled the news Wednesday. The manager noted that first base coach Tom Goodwin was chosen to address the team, having lost his son to suicide five years before.

"He's OK. I mean, obviously he's not OK but he's OK," said Cora of Swihart. "Trying to treat him as normal as possible. As you guys know, Goody went through this four and a half years ago, five years ago. Tom Goodwin. And he was like the right person to address the team yesterday. One of the things he mentioned is, yeah, it's tough. It's harder than what people think. It's actually more painful than what people think pain is. But at the same time, kind of like, it's hard to say it, that it has to be normal, but just be there. Be there. Just be there. We're there for him. I saw him this morning, talked to him a little bit. He's in the lineup. He wants to play. He was in the meeting. We did our normal routine because I bet that's what he wants for how different his life is, he wants it to be as normal as possible. So that's a fine line there. As a leader, it's like, what do we do? Where are we at? But he laughed with us today. We went about it and now he's ready to go."

Swihart will most likely be leaving the team over the weekend.

"He said it yesterday. He said that he finds comfort around our team," Cora noted. "I mean, we have a great group of people that are going to help him out and also obviously those guys, they do care about him. Like I said yesterday, if you go through his season last year it was easy for him to pack it in and say who cares, I'm either going to be here or somewhere else. And he worked. He was a great teammate and they appreciate that. And obviously, they love him as a person."

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