Tony Massarotti, co-host of the radio show that featured an hour-long interview with Red Sox owner John Henry on Friday, said Henry's surprise appearance was a message to the fans that "the Sox owners hear you" . . . and that it went over well with those fans.
"We saw a number of texts and e-mails from fans, from people who said, 'You know what? At least I know he cares.'," said Massarotti, who, along with co-host Michael Felger, questioned Henry on the 'Felger and Mazz' show on 98.5 The Sports Hub. "And I think for the first time in a long time, people felt like the owner cared about the team. And I think that some of that has disappeared . . .
"I think that part of the problem since the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007 is that there's this growing sentiment among the fan base, rightfully so, that the Red Sox aren't as important to John Henry as they once were. Well, Friday he fought for his team a little bit."
Massarotti thinks the reason Henry went on the air with two of his most vocal critics -- he dropped into the studio unannounced after hearing them roast the Sox on his car radio during the opening of the show -- was that "the Red Sox are now concerned that they're losing segments of their fan base. That's what this is about . . .
"Clearly, Henry felt the need to address fans about the state of the team. To me, what that should tell people more than anything -- especially if you're a fan -- is that they hear you. They hear you. They know you're pissed off, and they hear you.
"Good for the fan base. You should be pissed off. When something like that happens, and they do to the manager what they did, fans have a right to be angry."
Massarotti was referring to the Boston Globe story in which team sources -- Henry denied the information came from upper management -- cited Terry Francona's personal issues as a reason for both the Sox' September collapse and the team's decision not to pick up the 2012 option on his contract.
Blake Swihart wasn't going to win a job. Monday merely made that official.
Swihart was optioned out as the Red Sox made further cuts, sending a player who could still be the Red Sox catcher of the future -- well, one of them anyway -- to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's expected to work on his receiving.
Swihart hit .325 in 40 Grapefruit League at-bats.
"Had a very strong camp and showed improvements defensively. Swung the bat very well," manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida. "For the player that he is and the person that he is, you love him as a person. He's a hell of a talented player.
"He made some subtle adjustments with his setup [defensively]. That gave him a different look to pitchers on the mound. Pitchers talked positively about the look that they got from him behind the plate. I think it softened his hands somewhat to receive the ball better. And there were a number of occasions where he was able to get a pitchers' pitch called for a strike, so the presentation of the umpire was a little bit more subtle and consistent then maybe years' past."
Sandy Leon's hot hitting in 2016 earned him an automatic crack at the lead catching spot for this year. Combined with the fact that Christian Vazquez looks great defensively, went deep on Sunday and is out of options, Swihart was the obvious odd man out.
He had options, the others didn't.
Deven Marrero was also optioned to Pawtucket. Sam Travis -- who, like Swihart, could break camp with the 2018 team -- was reassigned to minor-league camp, as was catcher Dan Butler.
The Sox have 38 players left in camp, 32 from the 40-man roster.
Righty Tyler Thornburg seems a guarantee to join David Price on the disabled list to start the season.
Thornburg, the biggest acquisition Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made for the bullpen this winter, was scratched Monday because of a spasm in his upper right trapezius — not a great sign for a pitcher who already had throwing shoulder issues this spring.
Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida the spasm was “not shoulder related.” But the trap, a large muscle along the neck and back, does extend to the shoulder blade.
Dombrowski told reporters it is most likely that Thornburg starts the year on the disabled list. More is expected to be known Tuesday, possibly after an MRI.
Robby Scott could be a replacement for Thornburg. If so, the Sox would likely have three lefties in the bullpen, along with Fernando Abad and Robbie Ross Jr.
"Possibly. Possibly," Dombrowski said of Scott. “We still have to make those decisions. But possibly.”
Dombrowski didn’t indicate a desire to go outside the organization for now.
Thornburg had barely enough time to get ready for Opening Day prior to Monday’s setback. If he indeed starts the season on the DL, Joe Kelly would be the eighth-inning reliever for the Sox — a role Kelly was headed for anyway given Thornburg’s shaky spring.
Thornburg, 28, had a 2.15 ERA last season for the Brewers. The Sox picked him up at the winter meetings in a deal that sent Travis Shaw and prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers.