FORT MYERS, Fla. — Marco Hernandez and Brock Holt were names you figured to see at second base while Dustin Pedroia recovers from right knee surgery.
One name you might not have expected, but may at least get a look: Blake Swihart.
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"He’s an athlete,” manager Alex Cora said Tuesday at JetBlue Park. “You’ll see him in spring training in different positions. Looking forward to seeing him perform. Glad that he’s healthy, actually been in touch with him for a while. The ground ball part, he asked, where should I take ground balls?
Cora told him it doesn’t matter.
“Go to one spot,” Cora said. “I just want you to move your feet and we go from there. We’re going to challenge him, and he’s up to the challenge.”
Swihart said at Winter Weekend in January that catching remains his goal, but he’ll do what he’s asked.
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It doesn’t appear likely that Swihart would become, say, the team’s starting second baseman before Pedroia returned. He’s only played catcher, first base and left field (as well as DH) in affiliated pro ball. But an experiment with a player who is out of options adds a wrinkle of intrigue to a camp where there aren’t many competitions.
“Oh yeah, second, third, I mean, anywhere,” Cora said when pressed on Swihart possibly playing second. “I haven’t been with him on a field but everything I hear, especially when he’s healthy, he’s athletic enough that you can move him around and obviously behind the plate, he can help. You don’t see that often, guys that are versatile enough.”