Red Sox

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

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

Blake Swihart’s strong spring seems to have the Red Sox more inclined to deal one of their natural utility infielders, such as Brock Holt or Deven Marrero, rather than Swihart, a converted catcher with high upside who's getting a look in other roles.
 
"Sounds like they’re holding Swihart to open," a rival executive said. "More likely to move a utility guy."
 
A true utility guy, that is.

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The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that Marrero has been drawing interest from other teams.

"We do have depth with our middle infielders," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. "However, [I] would not get into potential trade discussions."
 
Swihart, who turns 26 on April 3, is most valuable as a catcher. But he could still be useful in a bench role for the 2018 Red Sox, and a win-now mentality may be the driving force here. (It is possible, as well, that there is nothing available via trade for Swihart that has piqued the Sox’ interest. Marrero or Holt wouldn’t require as much in return.)
 
The potential drawback is that Swihart won’t grow much if he’s not playing every day -- and in particular, if he's not catching every day. But the Sox may be be at a juncture where they feel his bat is a worthwhile experiment off the bench, at least for this season. They can figure out his future -- and their future at backstop -- later.
 
"He’s a great athlete," Cora told reporters on Sunday. "We’ve seen it in the batter’s box. It’s not only the results, but the way he’s driving the ball to left field as a left-hander, the quality of at-bats as a right-hander. [On Saturday], as a pinch-hitter, that kid was throwing 99 and he throws a breaking ball and squares a ball up."
 
Swihart entered Monday with a .283 average in Grapefruit League play, with a .905 OPS and a pair of home runs. But he does not have the infield experience that Marrero or Holt has, and the Red Sox essentially have to carry one of those two to start the year. 
 
Eduardo Nunez, the temporary replacement for Dustin Pedroia, is coming off a knee injury, and a sure-handed infielder -- Marrero’s glove is particularly good -- is a must. Rafael Devers is still coming into his own at third base. 
 
Tzu-Wei Lin is available in the minors too, and the Sox could see some redundancy with him, Holt and Marrero. Lin, unlike Marrero, has minor league options remaining. Lin also has some limited outfield experience.
 
The way the Sox roster looks now, they have two spots available for the three guys: Marrero, Holt and Swihart. Health can change that. Holt, despite being the most veteran of the group, has minor league options remaining, so he theoretically could go to Triple-A to start the season. But if the Sox don't see a role for him on this year's team any way, they'd be wiser trading him, considering he's due to make $2.225 million. It also would be the kindest choice for Holt, to let him have an opportunity elsewhere, if one exists.

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Swihart has played first base, third base and left field in addition to catching this spring. Perhaps, in time, there will be a way to work Swihart in behind the plate for the Sox. At the least, retaining him would be insurance if Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon do not perform well offensively.
 
There was a clear personal-catcher system for the Red Sox in 2017. Leon was Chris Sale’s guy, for example. Manager Alex Cora said he is not taking that approach. As an auxiliary effect, moving away from a personal-catcher system might make it easier for Swihart to receive more time behind the plate, if called on.
 
"Whoever I feel comfortable with that day behind the plate, he'll catch," Cora told reporters in Florida. "Christian already caught him. Sandy's going to catch him today. And then the next turn, Christian's going to catch him. Everybody's going to work with everybody."

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Marcus Stroman calls Dennis Eckersley a clown and hypocrite after announcer takes issue with celebration

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Marcus Stroman calls Dennis Eckersley a clown and hypocrite after announcer takes issue with celebration

As Marcus Stroman ended the sixth inning in the Blue Jays' win Sunday at Fenway Park with a strikeout of Eduardo Nunez, he celebrated by shouting at the Red Sox bullpen. On the Red Sox broadcast, Dennis Eckersley called Stroman's celebration "tired."

Stroman then took to Twitter to call out Eckersley for his comments on the air and didn't hold back, calling him a "clown" and a "hypocrite"

It's hard to tell someone else to stop celebrating when they're handing it to the defending champs for the second game in a row. The next time Stroman takes the mound, he probably won't tone down his celebrations either. 

And the Red Sox' job will be to keep him from celebrating because that's the only thing you can do in that situation. Just score runs on him. 

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Brock Holt (hamstring) leaves Red Sox loss, Cora calls him 'day-to-day'

Brock Holt (hamstring) leaves Red Sox loss, Cora calls him 'day-to-day'

Brock Holt exited the Boston Red Sox' game against the Toronto Blue Jays after just three innings on Sunday afternoon after suffering an apparent injury.

According to multiple reports, Holt left the game with "left hamstring tightness." It's unclear what the extent of the injury might be, but it's certainly not good news for the Red Sox.

Holt was thrown out at home plate in the 2nd inning trying to score from second base and apparently suffered the injury on the play. While Holt did return to the game in the 3rd inning to play the field, he only lasted one inning before being replaced by Eduardo Nunez.

If Holt misses any amount of time, the Red Sox will be thin on the bench once again. Regular starting third baseman, Rafael Devers, missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury of his own. However, Alex Cora expects him to be ready to play in the coming days, so that is good news for the team.

Holt is hitting .302 this season with one homer. He has helped to solidify the team's troubles at second base since returning from the IL with eye and shoulder issues.

UPDATE (5:25 p.m): Alex Cora provided an update on Holt after the game and declared him "day-to-day."

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