BOSTON (CBS) — Blake Swihart is finally going to get some of that playing time that Alex Cora talked about in spring training.
The 26-year-old Swihart, who has just 41 plate appearances this season, will get the start for the Red Sox on Wednesday in their series finale against Toronto. Swihart will start at first base for the first time in his career. (He’s played just four innings of first base in the big leagues.)
Swihart has received praise from both Dave Dombrowski and Cora for his versatility, as his primary position at catcher has been blocked by Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez. Swihart shifted to the outfield in 2016 but suffered an ankle injury that set him back for almost two full seasons. In spring training this year, he spent time taking ground balls all over the infield, though Cora said recently that catcher is still Swihart’s best position defensively.
This year, with Swihart out of minor league options, the Red Sox have carried Swihart on the roster all year long but have had difficulty finding playing time for him. Last week’s trade of Hanley Ramirez figured to be one that would open some doors to opportunities like Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Mookie Betts remains out of the lineup for the fourth straight game due to left side tightness.
Here’s the Red Sox’ full lineup as they go for the sweep vs. the Blue Jays:
1. Andrew Benintendi, CF
2. Xander Bogaerts, SS
3. J.D. Martinez, LF
4. Rafael Devers, 3B
5. Eduardo Nunez, DH
6. Brock Holt, 2B
7. Blake Swihart, 1B
8. Christian Vazquez, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., RF
SP: Eduardo Rodriguez