Boston Red Sox

Blake Swihart trying other positions because of ankle

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Blake Swihart trying other positions because of ankle

BOSTON — Once a highly valuable trade chip, Red Sox prospect Blake Swihart is now looking at an attempt to rebound at new positions.

Swihart is going to play first and third base, Red Sox manager John Farrell said on Tuesday. A catcher for most of his career and an excellent athlete, Swihart had surgery on his left ankle last August, and the ankle is still problematic.

“He’s been on the DL [at Triple-A Pawtucket] because of the ankle issue,” Farrell said. “As he gets back active, because the stress of catching is not allowing him to catch as a regular everyday catcher, we’re going to begin moving him around the infield. He’s going to take ground balls at first. He’ll take some at third. He’ll still catch some, but the ankle is a limiting factor as far as how many games consecutively he can catch.”

The Sox tried Swihart in left field for a time last year before committing at the start of this year to having him catch. In 41 games played entering Tuesday, the switch-hitting Swihart’s slashing .213/.265/.327 with Pawtucket. He has three home runs in 41 games.

Swihart, 25, still has plenty of time to become a successful big leaguer, but he’s definitely on a tough detour from the planned path. Versatility in terms of positions could be a boon to him, but there's long been a sense he'd be most valuable as a catcher because of his hitting ability.

In June, farm director Ben Crockett noted how Swihart’s health was dragging down his season. He went back on the disabled list on July 5 with what’s listed as left ankle inflammation.

“It’s been a challenging season for him just given the injuries,” Crockett said in June. “I think that’s first and foremost: after having a solid spring training and coming out of the gates pretty well in Pawtucket, he’s missed a bunch of time. 

“Obviously that’s nothing of his own fault, and yet, it is what it is. And I think at this point he’s still trying to find, find his stroke after the finger injury. He hasn’t let it affect him defensively. Particularly in the last couple weeks here, as he’s gotten back into the flow games, the defense has been pretty good.” 

Drew Pomeranz may get extra rest with velocity still down

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Drew Pomeranz may get extra rest with velocity still down

BOSTON — There doesn’t seem to be concern in Red Sox camp that Drew Pomeranz’s velocity is down because he’s hurting. 

Manager John Farrell and Pomeranz appear to be approaching the situation like a fact of life: this is the stuff Pomeranz has at this point in the year. He has 167 2/3 innings under his belt, putting him just three away from matching his career-high a year ago. That takes a toll, but diminished stuff is alarming considering how important Pomeranz is to the Sox’ playoff hopes.

The Sox’ projected Game 2 starter in the American League Division Series was pulled Monday night after just two innings in a 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays, allowing five runs on seven hits and one walk. He struck out none.

Pomeranz’s fastball was around 89-91 mph, after he averaged 92.74 mph on it in August, per BrooksBaseball.net. Pomeranz's regular heat wasn't quite there in his previous outing in Baltimore, either, sitting at 89.29. But the dip goes beyond the last two times, to the last four. On Sept. 8, he sat at 90.11 mph, and on Sept. 14 was 91.19 mph.

Farrell left open the possibility that Pomeranz could get extra rest. The lefty's next and last scheduled regular season start is Saturday against the Astros.

“If the opportunity presents itself, I certainly wouldn’t rule that out,” Farrell said of rest. “We recognize the innings total, how he’s climbed over the last couple years in particular. But we notice the velocity has dropped somewhat, so it’s got to come down to being able to locate more consistently which he did in Baltimore. He was pinpoint control that night. Tonight, not so much.”

On Monday, Pomeranz noted what he did after the Baltimore start: that when he needs to hump up for the extra heat, he’s got it.

“I don’t know, I’ve been fine,” Pomeranz said when asked if extra rest may benefit him. “My velocity dipped a few times in the last few outings, but then I get right back up when I need it. So I really didn’t have a chance to get settled in and work some of those higher velocities in there.”

The Sox trailed 5-2 when Pomeranz left.

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Donaldson, Blue Jays stop Red Sox winning streak at six

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Donaldson, Blue Jays stop Red Sox winning streak at six

BOSTON - Josh Donaldson homered and drove in three runs, powering the Toronto Blue Jays past the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox 6-4 on Monday night.

Boston's six-game winning streak was snapped and its magic number to clinch a second straight division title remained at three. The Red Sox lead the second-place New York Yankees, who beat Kansas City earlier in the day, by four games with six remaining.

Eduardo Nunez and Mookie Betts both left with injuries for Boston. Nunez aggravated a right knee injury that sidelined him for 13 games, and Betts came out with pain in his left wrist.

Ryan Goins hit a solo homer and Teoscar Hernandez had a two-run double for the Blue Jays. Brett Anderson (2-2) allowed three runs in five innings.

Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz (16-6) had his shortest start of the season, giving up five runs and seven hits in two innings.