Red Sox trade Blake Swihart to Arizona
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox gave away Blake Swihart’s No. 23 on Friday afternoon, assigning it to rookie infielder Michael Chavis when he was called up from Triple A Pawtucket.
Then they parted with Swihart a few hours later.
The utility player was traded to Arizona along with $500,000 in international bonus pool space for minor league outfielder Marcus Wilson.
Wilson, 22, was assigned to Double A Portland. He is a former second-round draft pick who has hit .255 with a .727 OPS over parts of six professional seasons. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 20 prospect in Arizona’s system.
The Sox included the bonus pool space to get a better prospect back from the Diamondbacks, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. They feel Wilson has potential.
“He’s somebody we’ve liked since the day he was drafted,” Dombrowski said. “We had interest back then from [scouting director] Mike Rikard and his staff.”
Wilson was only 17 when he was drafted and played five seasons in Rookie or Single A before moving up to Double A Jackson this year. He is considered an average defender with developing offensive skills.
Wilson was drafted in 2014 when Red Sox vice president Tony La Russa was the chief baseball officer of the Diamondbacks.
That Arizona wanted Swihart was no surprise. General manager Mike Hazen was the Red Sox farm director when Swihart was drafted in 2011 and the assistant GM when Swihart made his major league debut in 2015.
Manager Torey Lovullo also knows Swihart well from his time on the Red Sox coaching staff.
Hazen said the Diamondbacks plan to use Swihart as a utility player more so than a catcher. The Diamondbacks are already carrying three catchers and plan to stay with that group.
For Swihart, who is from New Mexico, Arizona represents a chance to play close to home and reset his career. He had a .679 OPS over parts of five seasons for the Sox before being designated for assignment on Tuesday.
The Sox have been trying to trade Swihart going back to last season.
“We were close a couple of times,” Dombrowski said. “There were clubs that would show interest but never really bought a lot of value back in the deals. It never got that close.”
Dustin Pedroia felt a popping sensation in his left knee when he fouled off a fastball from J.A. Happ in the second inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Yankees.
As he rotated his hips to swing, Pedroia’s cleat stuck in the dirt and his knee pushed back against the brace he has been wearing all season.
“I torqued and my knee didn’t,” Pedroia said.
Pedroia stayed at the plate and flied out to right field before telling manager Alex Cora he needed to come out.
Based on Pedroia’s fearful expression, Cora feared his second baseman had suffered a season-ending injury.
“I was thinking about the worst,” the manager said.
But when Pedroia was examined at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on Thursday, the diagnosis was irritation. There was no further damage to any ligaments or cartilage.
Pedroia was placed on the 10-day injured list as a precaution. He rejoined the team Thursday night and has felt fine since.
“I was nervous,” Pedroia said. “It was good news, the best I can get. We’re just going to let it calm down for a few days and then it should be all right.
Pedroia is likely to use a different style of brace when he returns to playing.
“I shouldn’t be taking swings and feeling that. It was just a weird freak thing,” he said. “I’m kind of over those freak things. I just want to get out there and have fun and play and help us win. Hopefully that’s coming.”
Cora said there is no timetable for Pedroia to return or any decision made as to whether he will play any minor league games first.
Lin, Chavis recalled
The Red Sox made a series of roster moves.
Infielder Eduardo Nunez was played on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Thursday with a mid-back strain.
Righthander Erasmo Ramirez, who allowed four runs in three innings of relief on Wednesday against the Yankees, was designated for assignment.
Chavis and Tzu Wei-Lin were recalled from Triple A Pawtucket. Lin started at second base against the Rays and went 1 for 4.
With Pedroia, Nunez and Brock Holt all on the injured list, the Sox plan to use Lin as their primary second baseman for now.
The 25-year-old has hit .286 for Pawtucket and played one game for the Sox earlier this season. Lin has hit .254 with a .722 OPS in 63 career games in the majors.
Nunez’s back had left him unable to swing a bat properly.
“It’s the middle of the back. It’s been going on for a few days,” Cora said. “We tried to give it two days. Offensively is where it’s bothering him. It’s very rotational.”
Holt, who has a scratched right cornea, has been fitted with a new contact lens and could play for Triple A Pawtucket on Monday.
Chavis, 23, has only five games of experience at second in his career, all this season for Pawtucket. The Sox plan to use him off the bench for what could be a short stint.
“This is the big leagues. When we need somebody, we need somebody,” Cora said. “He can play first; he can play third; he can hit . . . we’ll find ways to get Michael at-bats.”
Chavis was the 26th overall pick of the 2014 draft. He struggled for three seasons before a breakout 2017 season. He was then suspended 80 games in 2018 after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
Chavis returned to hit .298 with a .919 OPS in 46 minor league games last season. He hit .250 with a .954 OPS in 12 games for Pawtucket this season.
Ring him up
Cora and Dombrowski presented Tampa Bay lefthander Jalen Beeks with his World Series ring during batting practice. Beeks appeared in two games for the Sox last season before being traded for Nathan Eovaldi. . . . Jackie Bradley Jr. turned 29 on Friday . . . Andrew Benintendi returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sore left foot, the result of a foul ball. He went 0 for 3 from the leadoff spot; he and Bradley were the only starters without a hit.