BRADENTON, Fla. -- Of the nine position players who filled out manager John Farrell's Red Sox lineup on Thursday, catcher Blake Swihart was the only one who has never taken an at-bat in a Major League game.
But that is likely to change soon, perhaps even at some point this season.
Veteran starter Clay Buchholz, who worked with Swihart on Thursday against the Pirates, can see why.
"He receives the ball really good," said Buchholz. "He's sort of taking the same steps as [Christian Vazquez] did last year, always asking questions and trying to find a way to get better, feeling more comfortable with the pitching staff. Obviously he's a good baseball player, and he's a really good athlete and has an idea of what to do behind the plate as far as pitch calling. I think he's going to be big for us."
The way things project for this season, Vazquez will be the starting catcher and Ryan Hanigan will serve as the backup.
Would the Red Sox call on Swihart if there was an injury?
"We would be comfortable [doing that]," said Farrell. "That doesn't mean we would make that move. He's still developing with his receiving, particularly. The game calling, he's getting familiar with guys he's catching for the first time. The athleticism is as good as you're going to find behind the plate. More experience at the upper levels is where he's at in his development path."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.