Red Sox notes: Youkilis hits first homer since July


Red Sox notes: Youkilis hits first homer since July

By Danny Picard

BOSTON -- With Friday night's loss, the Red Sox are now 2-10 on the season. They've started 2-10 only three other times in club history: 1925, 1927, and 1996. As hard as it is to take positives out of the latest defeat, there was one.

One would be Kevin Youkilis, who hit his first home run of the season, which was a two-run shot to deep center off of Toronto starter Brett Cecil in the third inning. It gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead at the time, and marked his first home run since last July.

"It was a great swing," said Francona. "The ball wasn't carrying real well, and he drove the heck out of that ball."

Dustin Pedroia also homered for the Red Sox. It was a solo shot over the monster in the third that put Boston up 1-0, marking his second home run of the season.

Francona admitted after the game that Carl Crawford is beginning to get a "little bit" frustrated with his poor start to the season. Crawford finished Friday's loss 0-for-5 with a strikeout in the leadoff spot.

"Trying to do too much," said Francona. "Trying to do it before it happens.

"He's going to get hot. I don't care if we hit him one through nine. At some point, he's going to get real hot. That's probably something I need to sit and talk to him about, because the last thing I want to do is hinder somebody. I want to help him."

A pretty big call was overturned in the top of the first inning on Friday night, after Adam Lind drove a low liner down the right field line toward Pesky's pole. It was initially ruled a three-run home run, but after the review, it was ruled a long foul ball.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

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.

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

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.