Swihart returns to Red Sox with a new job description


Swihart returns to Red Sox with a new job description

BOSTON -- Blake Swihart is back with the Red Sox. This time, however, it's primarily as an outfielder and not a catcher.

Swihart, who began the year as part of the club's catching tandem with Ryan Hanigan, was optioned to Pawtucket when Christian Vazquez was activated from his rehab stint. Once there, the Sox had him playing the outfield to help expand his versatility and create ways he could help the major league club this season.

It didn't take long to get him into the lineup, either -- Swihart was in left field, batting ninth, Friday night against Cleveland. He'll play left field regularly against right-handed pitchers, with Chris Young starting against lefties.

"He adapted, by all accounts, pretty rapidly [to left],'' said John Farrell. "I think that speaks to his work ethic and openess to add the outfield to his defensive alignment. The only thing he hasn't experienced is working against [the left-field] wall here. That's going to be a first in-game for him.

"But we feel like the athlete that it is, he's got a short stint of left field in his days as an amateur player. But he adapted pretty well with the footwork and precise routes while at Pawtucket.''

"I've gotten a lot of work out there,'' said Swihart, "and everything is going pretty well. I played it a lot when I was young, so (I've been trying) to get those instincts to take over again -- getting jumps on balls, and I find myself backing up bases without even thinking about it, so the instincts are taking over.''

Swihart spent about an hour Friday afternoon taking balls off the left-field wall, trying to get acclimated.

"I've been picking all the outfielders' brains,'' Swihart said. "Anything they can give me to work with, I'll take it.''

Farrell said the Sox still envision Swihart catching in the future, but while here, Vazquez and Hanigan will continue to handle the vast majority of work behind the plate.

"How we can keep his [catching] sharp while he's here is going to be a challenge,'' conceded Farrell. "But some of the early work (will be focused on catching) because we don't want that to be eliminated.''

Farrell mum on Pedroia, who seems close to return

Farrell mum on Pedroia, who seems close to return

Red Sox manager John Farrell doesn't want to talk any more about what happened in Baltimore with Dustin Pedroia, Manny Machado and Matt Barnes.

"It’s been addressed, it’s behind us and we focus on an important series as they all are in division," Farrell told SiriusXM MLB Network Radio on Tuesday afternoon, before the scheduled start of a series with the Yankees. "Game of baseball’s going to be played hard."

Asked specifically about Pedroia's comments by host Jim Duquette, Farrell dodged the question.

"Again, like I said, we’ve handled all that’s kind of fallen out from it," Farrell said. "I’m not trying to give you a short answer but we’re moving on."

Pedroia (left knee and ankle) did not need an MRI on Monday, which suggests he'll avoid the DL. Pedroia hasn't played since Machado spiked him Friday.

"Lingering soreness that’s there, but knowing Pedey ... if he’s ready, he’s going to be on the field," Farrell told MLB Network Radio. 

Tyler Thornburg still long tossing

Right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg (right shoulder) needs to get out to about 150 feet of long toss before starting something akin to spring training, where he'll need 7-10 appearances. Farrell expressed hope that Thornburg was close to throwing off the mound and going on assignment.

Sandoval goes on 10-day DL, Rutledge returns from DL to take roster spot

Sandoval goes on 10-day DL, Rutledge returns from DL to take roster spot

BOSTON - Maybe the Red Sox lineup will just never be at full health in 2017.

Pablo Sandoval's right knee sprain has landed him on the 10-day disabled list, with Josh Rutledge returning from the DL in Sandoval's place.

Sandoval was hurt reaching for a ground ball Sunday.

"Medial side of the right knee is what’s been sprianed," Farrell told SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio on Tuesday. "I don't know how long this one’s going to take.

"It looked like kind of a benign play at the time, and in between innings it really started to get sore on him. ... Added force as he was kind of rolling over the front side of that. He’s got some swelling in there, it really kind of swelled up on him pretty good."

Rutledge has been on the DL all season because of a left hamstring strain. He played five rehab games between Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland, playing one game for the latter on Monday night.

Marco Hernandez's role for the Red Sox grows in importance from here with Brock Holt on the DL because of vertigo. Steve Selsky will be leaned on more, too.

The Sox are aiming for a platoon at third base with Rutledge and Hernandez in Sandoval's absence.

"We feel like with a platoon system at third we’re going to be covered," Farrell said.

Sandoval is on the DL retroactive to April 24. He wasn't doing enough at the plate (.213) before the injury.