Red Sox: Blake Swihart will play in the Dominican Republic this winter
Boston Red Sox prospect Blake Swihart will be heading to the Dominican Republic this winter and be focused on improving his play behind the plate.
Blake Swihart has caught 10 innings for the Red Sox this season as a September call-up but he has also been working out at first base and third base with the help of infield instructor, Brian Butterfield. Boston and Swihart are looking to improve his versatility in hopes that it will give him a better chance of making the 2018 MLB roster.
Boston and Swihart are looking to improve his versatility in hopes that it will give him a better chance of making the 2018 MLB roster. Swihart is out of minor league options after this season so he either needs to make the roster or he will be placed on waivers.
However, this winter in the Dominican Republic, the Red Sox will have Swihart focusing more on his catching than anything else.
"“I think I’m focusing just on catching (at winter ball),” Swihart said. “I haven’t heard for sure but I know I’m going to catch three days a week.”"
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Swihart will be in the Dominican Republic until Thanksgiving and he is getting married this December.
The 25-year-old prospect has had a very rough season plagued by injuries. He only managed to play in 53 games for Triple-A Pawtucket and batted a mere .190. Most of his time on the disabled list was due to a left ankle injury in July and August but he also missed time in May due to a finger contusion. Last year, Swihart underwent season-ending ankle surgery so his ankle will be something to keep an eye on going forward.
Winter ball in the Dominican Republic will allow Swihart to get consistent playing time as well as a heavier workload considering the amount of time he has missed this season. If the Red Sox want to get a better look at him and give him more time to develop, winter ball is a good opportunity.
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Furthermore, Swihart may treat winter ball as a pre-Spring Training tryout given his lack of minor league options next season. If he can make the team, it will likely be as a back-up catcher and utility man. Only time will tell, but this winter Swihart’s play will be watched very closely.