Blake Swihart won’t be making any appearances in left field during the 2017 season, per a report from Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. In fact, the only place the Red Sox want to see him is behind the plate.
The 24-year-old will compete against fellow catchers Sandy Leon and Christian Vasquez for a starting role during spring training. He was named the Opening Day catcher in 2016, but was demoted within the month and moved to left field upon his return to the majors in late May. His season came to a premature end in early June after Swihart suffered a severe left ankle sprain on a bad outfield catch.
Despite the uncertainty around Boston’s catching situation in 2017, one thing remains clear: they don’t want to part with any of their three backstops, at least for the time being. The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro revealed that the Diamondbacks had asked about Swihart and Vasquez, but were told that the Red Sox were unwilling to deal either catcher this offseason. None of Boston’s young catchers have proven track records behind the plate just yet, and until they do, it makes sense for the club to keep their options open as they head into 2017.