Red Sox

Swihart returns to Red Sox with a new job description

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Swihart returns to Red Sox with a new job description

BOSTON -- Blake Swihart is back with the Red Sox. This time, however, it's primarily as an outfielder and not a catcher.

Swihart, who began the year as part of the club's catching tandem with Ryan Hanigan, was optioned to Pawtucket when Christian Vazquez was activated from his rehab stint. Once there, the Sox had him playing the outfield to help expand his versatility and create ways he could help the major league club this season.

It didn't take long to get him into the lineup, either -- Swihart was in left field, batting ninth, Friday night against Cleveland. He'll play left field regularly against right-handed pitchers, with Chris Young starting against lefties.

"He adapted, by all accounts, pretty rapidly [to left],'' said John Farrell. "I think that speaks to his work ethic and openess to add the outfield to his defensive alignment. The only thing he hasn't experienced is working against [the left-field] wall here. That's going to be a first in-game for him.

"But we feel like the athlete that it is, he's got a short stint of left field in his days as an amateur player. But he adapted pretty well with the footwork and precise routes while at Pawtucket.''

"I've gotten a lot of work out there,'' said Swihart, "and everything is going pretty well. I played it a lot when I was young, so (I've been trying) to get those instincts to take over again -- getting jumps on balls, and I find myself backing up bases without even thinking about it, so the instincts are taking over.''

Swihart spent about an hour Friday afternoon taking balls off the left-field wall, trying to get acclimated.

"I've been picking all the outfielders' brains,'' Swihart said. "Anything they can give me to work with, I'll take it.''

Farrell said the Sox still envision Swihart catching in the future, but while here, Vazquez and Hanigan will continue to handle the vast majority of work behind the plate.

"How we can keep his [catching] sharp while he's here is going to be a challenge,'' conceded Farrell. "But some of the early work (will be focused on catching) because we don't want that to be eliminated.''

MLB rumors: Mets have talked to Red Sox about trade for a catcher

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MLB rumors: Mets have talked to Red Sox about trade for a catcher

The Boston Red Sox have great depth at catcher with three Major League-caliber players at the position, so it's not surprising that at least one team has contacted the 2018 World Series champions about a potential trade.

The New York Mets are one such team, as reported Wednesday by MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.

DiComo also was asked about the Mets' possible interest in other Red Sox players, and he gave the following response:

The Mets haven't had the best success with catchers since Mike Piazza left the franchise after the 2005 season.

Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez are good behind the plate, but neither of them are quality hitters. Leon batted .177 over 89 regular season games in 2018, while Vazquez batted .207 in 80 games. Swihart isn't as good defensively, but he's a slightly better hitter. He batted .229 in 82 games but is a career .256 hitter.

The Red Sox lost reliever Joe Kelly to the Los Angeles Dodgers in free agency and could lose closer Craig Kimbrel, too. Trading one of these catchers could clear some salary for a free-agent bullpen arm or be enough to get a Major League reliever in return. Either way, catcher is a position of depth the Red Sox should consider using to address some of their roster weaknesses.

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Red Sox fans give great replies to MLB tweet on Yankees' Manny Machado meeting

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Red Sox fans give great replies to MLB tweet on Yankees' Manny Machado meeting

The New York Yankees will meet with third baseman Manny Machado this week, and Major League Baseball's official Twitter account asked fans for their best free-agent pitch. 

As you might expect, many Red Sox fans, fresh off a World Series celebration, chimed in with responses. Several of them were pretty funny. Here's a round up of the best ones.

Machado, of course, was the final out of the 2018 World Series when Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale struck out the Dodgers star on a nasty breaking ball in Game 5. Machado didn't play well in the Fall Classic and was accused of dirty play when he was seen stepping on Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce in Game 4. It certainly wasn't the best show he could have put on for potential free-agent suitors.

Still, Machado is expected to get a massive long-term contract as an elite player in the prime of his career. The Red Sox vs. Yankees rivalry was reinvigorated last season when Boston eliminated New York in the American League Division Series, and the tensions between these teams only will increase if Machado takes his talents to the Bronx in free agency. 

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