Red Sox

Now a left fielder, Swihart cozies up to Green Monster


Now a left fielder, Swihart cozies up to Green Monster

BOSTON -- It had been a while since Blake Swihart played outfield -- five years ago in his senior year of high school, in fact -- but after some work there the past month in Pawtucket, the 24-year-old finds himself starting in one of the most unique outfield positions in Major League Baseball.

“It’s a lot different,” Swihart said. “It’s not as big a room to run around, so if it’s behind you, you’ve just got to try and do your best to get the ball into second as quickly as possible to keep them to a single and stuff like that.”

Swihart spent time in center field in high school, so his reads off the bat should continue to improve with practice.

“Everyday more and more instincts are taking over and everything is coming back to me -- everything I learned back [in high school],” Swihart said.

The major area for concern is how Swihart can handle the Green Monster -- so he’s spending time before game fielding balls off Fenway Park's 37 by 231 foot left field wall.

“Getting reads off the wall, what the bounces are going to be like [is the biggest adjustment],” Swihart explained. “If I want to play a little shallow or anything [gets] behind [is] going to be off the Monster I’ve just got to play it.”

He played his first game in left for the Red Sox on Friday night in a 4-2 loss to the Indians and caught four fly balls and handled a few off the Monster, including Carlos Santana's leadoff double. 

The switch-hitting prospect should have a few more opportunities to prove his worth at the plate and in left with Brock Holt on the 7-day concussion disabled list. Holt is expected to be evaluated Tuesday.

Even though Swihart seems to have embraced the opportunity to be back with the big league club, he doesn’t expect left field to be where his career trends.

“I still want to be a catcher at the end of the day,” he said. “But for right now, this is what I need to do.”

Swihart also listed third base and shortstop as positions he frequented in high school, but it’s safe to say he won’t be filling in there for Boston any time soon.

Still, to say he won’t continue playing left in 2016 isn’t a safe prediction either. He started there again on Saturday. 

As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

New Red Sox manager Alex Cora has announced that, as expected, left-hander Chris Sale will be the Opening Day starter when the Red Sox begin their season nine days from now against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. David Price will pitch the second game and Rick Porcello the third. 

Cora told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla. that Eduardo Rodriguez would be in the fourth starter's spot if he's ready as he continues to recover from off-season knee surgery and left-hander Brian Johnson is preparing to be the fifth starter for now.

In Price's second Grapefruit League start on Tuesday, he pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out four in the Red Sox' 12-6 victory over the Pirates. Third baseman Rafael Devers, hitting .349 this spring, hit his third home run of the spring. Andrew Benintendi (.405) had a double and two RBI and first baseman Sam Travis drove in three. 

Sale had a much rougher outing Monday, giving up four runs on five hits, with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings against the Phillies. 



Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

MORE - Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.