Ryan Hanigan was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured hand on Saturday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Blake Swihart on being called up after Ryan Hanigan's injury: 'I love challenges'

Ryan Hannable
May 02, 2015 - 8:16 am
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The Red Sox may not have wanted to call 23-year-old Blake Swihart up now, but they had little choice as Ryan Hanigan went down Friday night with a fractured hand. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, and Swihart was officially recalled. Following the game Friday, manager John Farrell indicated Hanigan would miss "significant" time and surgery would be needed. He didn't have much more of an update Saturday. "€œHe'€™s going through some imaging, MRI, cat scan and all that tomorrow just to determine the complete view of the fracture," said Farrell. "Whether or not surgery is today or tomorrow or in the coming days, it'€™ll be in the very near future. I think there'€™ll be some second opinion or a consultation with Dr. [Thomas] Graham in Cleveland. That'€™s probably more film review, not in person visit. That procedure will be done in the coming days." He wouldn't give a time frame on a possible return, but it isn't expected to be season ending. Swihart, who has played in just 37 total games in Triple-A over the last two seasons, was hitting .338 with 11 RBI so far this season. He said he got the call Friday night from his manager Kevin Boles and he then called his parents, who are flying to Boston, but won't arrive until after the game. "I love challenges so I am looking forward to it," Swihart said. "It's definitely a dream come true," he added. "This is what I dreamed about as a little kid. It's exciting, but at the end of the day I am here for these guys too and I have to help this team win." Swihart will now share the catching duties with Sandy Leon, who is also relatively new to the team, as he was traded for at the very end of spring training when Christian Vazquez needed Tommy John surgery. Leon has only started in six games so far this season. Farrell wouldn't commit to a playing schedule, but added Swihart is "a darn good prospect." "I don'€™t have an exact split on it," Farrell said. "Blake is a darn good prospect. And yet, he'€™s going to get a lot of exposure. We'€™ll ease him in and out and divide the time as we feel appropriate. The most important thing is he just comes up and gets his feet on the ground and learns the guys on the mound starting today." Swihart will immediately be thrown into the fire with all that is asked of a major league catcher. Farrell did say there is a plan in place if he were to need any help on the fly (ie. calling the game). There are things the manager will be looking for to see how the young prospect is adjusting to the big leagues. "Just the ability to read swings," Farrell said. "What'€™s he feeling in the box. What'€™s he seeing as it relates to the guy on the mound and how does he apply the stuff of a given pitcher. Like I said, there'€™s a little bit of a structure in place. If he has any needs on the fly we can help that along. So, for now, Blake will run the game." Swihart, who was actually an outfielder before he was drafted by the Red Sox in the first round in 2011, feels like he's continued to improve as a catcher, in particular his game calling. "I think I've improved a lot," he said. "Whether that is learning new pitchers, learning what they like to throw, when they like to throw it. Just pitch calling. That is the biggest things I wanted to prove on this year." Farrell added as of now he doesn't know of any external candidates being considered, so at least for the near future the team will be going with Swihart and Leon.

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