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Swihart swinging hot stick to open spring

Chavis tweaks oblique; E-Rod, Wright expected to open season on DL
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Blake Swihart has come out of the gate raking for the Red Sox. The catcher belted a double and a homer in Sunday's 7-1 win over the Orioles and is 3-for-5 in his first two Grapefruit League games. Swihart also stroked a triple in the college game against Northeastern last Thursday.

The switch-hitter and former top prospect is out of options, and he is expected to make the Red Sox as a super-utility player who can catch as well as play infield and outfield.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Blake Swihart has come out of the gate raking for the Red Sox. The catcher belted a double and a homer in Sunday's 7-1 win over the Orioles and is 3-for-5 in his first two Grapefruit League games. Swihart also stroked a triple in the college game against Northeastern last Thursday.

The switch-hitter and former top prospect is out of options, and he is expected to make the Red Sox as a super-utility player who can catch as well as play infield and outfield.

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"He's putting together good at-bats. He's healthy," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "He's relaxing. Everybody knows where he's at, his situation, and that's what he can do. We talked about it in the morning. Don't try to do too much, and he's doing a good job commanding the game, and he's in tune with what we're trying to accomplish.

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"He's very relaxed. He looks very relaxed behind the plate. I was watching. For whatever people think defensively about who he is, he's actually a good catcher."

Video: BAL@BOS: Swihart doubles to left, plates a run

Chavis tweaks left oblique
The Red Sox had hoped to get a good look at top hitting prospect Michael Chavis during Spring Training, but the infielder tweaked his left oblique taking a swing a few days ago and there's no timetable for when he will make his Grapefruit League debut.

Chavis is ranked Boston's No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline. Last season, he broke out in the Minor Leagues, slashing .282/.347/.563 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs. Cora isn't sure when Chavis will be ready to play, but said the right-handed-hitting slugger is feeling better.

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Chavis, 3B, Red Sox

E-Rod, Wright won't be on opening roster
Neither left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez nor righty knuckleballer Steven Wright will be ready to start the season on the active roster, Cora confirmed Sunday. It had pretty much been trending that way given their daily activities.

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"It's looking that way," Cora said. "They're taking their steps where they're looking healthy, but obviously it's getting into March and they need their repetitions. We're not going to jeopardize their careers for one start to pitch them early."

Rodriguez, coming off right knee surgery, will throw his first side session of Spring Training on Monday. Wright is still throwing a few feet in front of the mound.

Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez, and Roenis Elias are the top candidates to be the fifth starter until Rodriguez or Wright is ready to return.

Price on schedule
Though lefty David Price hasn't thrown live batting practice, he's right on pace with Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz and Rick Porcello to be ready for the start of the season.

Cora mentioned that Price doesn't feel comfortable throwing with the L screen and he's more likely to face Minor League hitters in a simulated game setting rather than live BP.

Up next
The Red Sox play their first road game of Spring Training on Monday when they visit the Pirates for a 1:05 p.m. ET game in Bradenton, Fla., on Gameday Audio. Christian Vazquez, Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi will be among the position players making the trip. Brock Holt and Swihart will also see action.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Michael Chavis, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Swihart, Steven Wright