Can Sox steer Swihart from Austin to Boston?

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Can Sox steer Swihart from Austin to Boston?

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

Blake Swihart, the switch-hitting catcher from V. Sue Cleveland High in Rio Rancho, NM, who was Red Sox' second pick in the draft, has committed to the University of Texas, calling it his "Plan A."

So committed is he to the Longhorns that he's planning to travel to Omaha to watch Texas in the College World Series when it begins June 18.

Still, he pledges to keep an open mind and will listening to the Sox' overtures between now and the Aug. 15 signing deadline.

"I love the atmosphere out there in Texas and if I do end up signing, it probably will be at the end just because I'm really dedicated to Texas," he said.

Swihart is relatively new to catching. At the suggestion of a coach in his sophomore year, he moved to the position.

"I can actually play any position," he said. "Every position feels natural but at catcher I actually feel pretty good right now. I worked a lot on my arm slot, a lot on my quickness on my feet, and if I keep working, I think I can develop a lot more there.

"I can play any position. So where ever I need to play, I'll play. If it's catcher, I'll succeed there and work my butt off to get where I need to be."

Texas, he said, has promised him an opportunity to catch "about 75 percent of the time and play another position the rest of the time because they like my bat in the lineup every day."

He likes that the Sox have switch-hitting catchers at the big-league level now, in Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek this season, and Victor Martinez last season.

"It's amazing. It's awesome," he said, of his selection by the Red Sox. "They have a great organization. I'm just excited. It's pretty cool."

He had a good inkling the Sox might be the team that picked him.

"In the past couple weeks Red Sox area scout Matt Mahoney's been trying to get a hold of me a lot," Swihart said. "But I've been really busy and haven't been answering too many phone calls, just because I've been doing a lot of family stuff here in town. So he was showing a lot of interest, calling almost every day and so I expected the Red Sox to be one of the picks for me. I kind of saw it coming but wasn't sure at the same time, just because of my commitment to Texas, I didn't know if anything was going to happen."

Swihart's first Little League team was the Cardinals. With no big-league team in New Mexico, he adopted the St. Louis Cardinals as his favorite. He's now willing to throw his allegiance behind the Red Sox.

"I guess I do like the Red Sox now," he said. "I guess that'd be my favorite."

His allegiance taken care of, now the Red Sox just have to compete for his commitment.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."