By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Blake Swihart appeared to be suffering through what’s commonly known as “the yips” at the start of spring training. As the Red Sox catcher worked off the rust in his return to his original position, he struggled early on to throw the ball back to the pitcher.
Swihart’s throwing woes could have been one of the more insufferable issues Red Sox fans would witness in 2017 – but apparently, Swihart is already over it. Manager John Farrell told Corey Long of MLB.com that Swihart has mostly “worked through” his issues behind the plate and expects him to only continue to improve.
Swihart himself sounds like his throwing issues are in the rearview mirror.
“I feel really good back there, I’m getting more and more comfortable every day,” said Swihart. “I just need to keep working in the bullpen, keep doing my drill work and take it into the game.”
Fortunately, Swihart was apparently able to physically get over his problems quickly before it snowballed. Throwing the ball back to the pitcher is arguably the simplest task in all of baseball and struggling to do so would be entirely a mental issue. It’s good that Swihart didn’t morph into a real-life version of Rube Baker from Major League II and the Red Sox didn’t have to bust out the Playboy magazines for him to read out loud.
The key phrase from the report, however, is that Farrell said Swihart has worked through his issues “for the most part.” So there’s apparently a sliver of a possibility that the problem pops back up again. Hopefully not, because the Red Sox may ultimately need Swihart’s bat in the lineup – and the only way to do that would be to park him behind the plate.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.