Sweeney making his mark quickly

Sweeney making his mark quickly
April 10, 2012, 10:00 pm
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TORONTO -- It''s admittedly a short sample size, but outfielder Ryan Sweeney has made a quick impact for the Red Sox -- especially when it's mattered most.
On Opening Day, Sweeney tripled home the tying run as the Sox came back against the Detroit Tigers and closer Jose Valverde.
Monday night, Sweeney came through again in the ninth, singling home the go-ahead run as the Sox rallied against the Toronto Blue Jays and closer Sergio Santos.
"I think everybody wants to be in those situations,'' said Sweeney. "In those situations, I'm just trying to do whatever the job presents. The last couple of times, it's been having a guy on second base and trying to get him in with two outs and fortunately I've had that happen.''
Sweeney said he's benefited from watching fellow left-handed hitters like David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez.
"Just the way they go about it and the way they approach certain pitchers helps,'' said Sweeney. "Just having a game plan going up there helps.''
After hitting in one of the league's worst lineups the last few years in Oakland, Sweeney feels fortunate to be surrounded by some of the game's better hitters.
"I think anybody would like to hit in this lineup,'' he said. "I said at the beginning of the spring, just put me at the end of the lineup and let me do little things to help us win. Having their presence in the lineup -- pitchers want to face me rather than having to face guys like that.
"One thing I've noticed with those guys, when they get their pitch and they're looking for it, they don't miss it. To see that and hopefully develop into one of those players, eventually that could be something that could happen.''
Manager Bobby Valentine noticed Sweeney's swing coming together in the final week of spring training and has watched him carry that into the first four games of the season.
Sweneey has hit safely in all four games at a .467 (7-for-15) clip.
"He's getting big hits late in the game and swinging well against left-handers and hitting the ball all around the ballpark,'' said Valentine.
Valentine said Sweeney worked with hitting coach Dave Magadan early in camp on finding a better rhythm.
"He was a little still,'' said Valentine. "I think it took him a little while, but now, it looks like he's right on time.''