Swihart working out kinks in move back to catcher

Red Sox backstop, competing for roster spot, trying to shorten up throws

Swihart working out kinks in move back to catcher

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Blake Swihart, who is back behind the plate after moving to left field last season, is having some trouble with his throwing mechanics in the early days of Red Sox Spring Training.

During Friday's first full-squad workout, Swihart airmailed Rick Porcello while throwing back to the mound during a side session, and he appeared to be hesitating or double-clutching at other times.

"I'm not concerned," said Swihart. "In the outfield, you have a longer arm swing, a longer arm movement. I'm just trying to shorten it back up. They are misfiring, but I'm not too worried about it. It's just a different arm movement. But I'm working every day to shorten it up, get it short and still have good velocity on my ball."

With the Red Sox opening their Grapefruit League schedule on Feb. 24, Swihart will use the next week to get his mechanics straightened out.

"This is something that has just kind of popped up a little bit," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Blake has always been a good athlete, a good athletic catcher, and an accurate thrower. There's some technique that he's working through right now, and this isn't even throwing the ball to second base. It's just a matter of the transferring, getting the ball back to the pitcher in good shape. We're working on it right now."

Red Sox have options at catcher

Swihart is in competition with Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez to be one of the two catchers the Red Sox break camp with.

The one thing working against Swihart is that he still has Minor League options. There's a strong chance the Red Sox will do whatever they can to keep all three catchers in the organization.

In the early weeks of camp, Swihart will be focusing on getting his feel for the game back rather than worrying about the roster crunch.

"The last time I caught was, what, the first six games of the season last year?" said Swihart. "That's the longest gap I've had. I feel fine. I'm not worried, and you guys shouldn't be worried, either. I'm working on my craft, and I promise the ball is going to get there."

Swihart didn't play at all after June last year due to left ankle surgery.

"Well, certainly when an injury takes somebody off the field, there is going to be time missed," said Farrell. "To suggest that the move to left field, that we're seeing an ill effect of that right now, it's far too early in camp to think that has any bearing on this. He's getting back into catching shape right now. Take this a step at a time."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.