The Red Sox raised some eyebrows on Tuesday when they opted to designate catcher Blake Swihart for assignment and promote Sandy Leon.
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Swihart began the season as the No. 2 catcher behind Christian Vazquez, but it appears the pitching staff's struggles to start the season convinced the team to rethink the decision and commit to Leon instead. Dave Dombrowski explained the move before Tuesday night's game vs. the Yankees.
“As we got here at this point, there’s only one move you can make and it was with Swihart,” Dombrowski said per MassLive. “We wanted to bring Leon up to handle our pitching staff. He’s really good at it."
Though his bat leaves plenty to be desired, Leon is beloved by the Sox pitching staff and is spectacular defensively. Those qualities, according to Dombrowski, outweighed the potential upside of Swihart's bat.
“We like Sandy,” Dombrowski said. “We know what his strengths are. Handling the pitching staff is one of them. He brings a lot of intangibles to the club in the way he handles the staff in that regard. It’s a decision we decided to make at this point. I’m not saying it’s the sole reason we’ve struggled, but it’ll help us.”
Alex Cora echoed Dombrowski's comments, saying it's Leon's chemistry with the rest of the ballclub that gave him the edge over Swihart.
“That’s a guy, he has been around here,” Cora said. “He has been consistent in what he does. He has helped everybody. Not only the pitching staff. It’s something we’ve thought about.”
Swihart likely will either be claimed or traded within the next seven days. In the event that he somehow isn't picked up, he would be outrighted to the minor leagues.
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