FORT MYERS, Fla. — Nobody would have blamed Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart for sitting out Thursday’s game against the Nationals, but he wanted to play through the pain.
A day after the death of his brother, Swihart still put on a uniform and started as Boston’s DH. He even
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Nobody would have blamed Red Sox catcher
A day after the death of his brother, Swihart still put on a uniform and started as Boston’s DH. He even delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning of Boston’s 13-5 win. He then exited to a rousing ovation from the crowd at JetBlue Park, the same ovation he heard in his first at-bat.
Being normal was the best way to deal with an abnormal week for Swihart.
“We did our normal routine, I bet that’s what he wants for how different his life is — he wants it to be as normal as possible,” Boston manager Alex Cora said, while admitting that’s a “fine line” as a leader.
“We’re there for him. I saw him this morning talking a little bit, he’s in the lineup, he wants to play.”
Cora said he knew his team would come together. He also knew the man who would lead that effort this week when he called upon assistant pitching coach Tom Goodwin, who lost his son to suicide five years ago.
“He was the right person to address the team [Wednesday],” Cora said. “One of the things he mentioned is, it’s tough and it’s more painful than what people think pain is, but at the same time be there for him.”
Swihart has chosen not to comment on the loss of his adopted brother Romell Jordan, who was 23. Cora expects Swihart to join his family this weekend.
The manager’s support carried over to Swihart’s teammates, who were inspired that he wanted to play through such a trying week.
“He feels that is what everyone wanted. For him to do that, just hats off to him,” pitcher Nathan Eovaldi said. “I don’t think I’d be able to do that in his shoes. Everybody grieves in a different way, so that’s what he needs, then we are here to support him.”
“I talked to him a little bit, we’re here for him in any way,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “Whatever he wants to do, we support. It doesn’t matter what it is. That’s all we can do, is be right there. We don’t have to say anything; you just sit right by him, just being there for him, that’s family for us.”
“We’ve all been through this somehow, some way, throughout life, and we all deal with it in different ways,” Cora said. “He [Swihart] finds comfort around our team; we have a great group of people who will help him out. Those guys, they do care about him.”
Bradley stays hot
After beginning the spring with a homer in each of his first two games, Red Sox centerfielder
While Cora will keep his starting pitchers away from game action until March 14, the same can’t be said of the Nationals, who threw three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer against the Red Sox. He pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and striking out four, including the side in the third.
Cora was asked before the game if there was any benefit to his hitters seeing such a talented pitcher so early in Spring Training: “They’re not too thrilled about it.”
The Red Sox meet the Twins on Friday in Fort Myers at 1:05 p.m. at CenturyLink Sports Complex. Boston plans to start left-hander Josh Taylor, followed by Domingo Tapia, Bobby Poyner and Zach Putnam.