For as well as the Red Sox are playing lately, and really all year, they have been missing some of their complimentary pieces. Now, other than Chris Sale for a short time they have been with most of their key stars all year, but lately they have missed their secondary players on the roster. Well, they are starting to come back now. Sale was back on the mound this past Sunday. Rafael Devers rejoined the team before that. Ian Kinsler is working his way back and shouldn’t be too far off. On Tuesday, as the Red Sox get set to start a short two-game series against the Phillies, Blake Swihart has been activated off the disabled list. To make room for him on the roster, Dan Butler has been designated for assignment.
Red Sox activate Blake Swihart from DL and designate Dan Butler for assignment. Butler was out of options.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) August 14, 2018
Getting Swihart back is certainly a big deal for the club, as the catcher/utility man had been playing really well before getting hurt. Since the start of July, he is hitting .368/.429/.553, though we should certainly not it’s only a 42 plate appearance sample size. Still, even if that’s not representative of what we can expect moving forward, Swihart was very clearly looking better than he had all year to that point, and really better than he’s looked in a few years. He’s obviously an upgrade over Butler, and should be able to provide Sandy León with some time off. The Red Sox starting catcher now, León should still get the bulk of the playing time, but he’s never had to handle this kind of workload before. The team wants him fresh and healthy in the postseason, and having another catcher you can trust is key for that. Expect to see plenty of Swihart moving forward.
As for Butler, well, I honestly had no idea he was out of options. I probably should have checked on that, but I was just assuming he’d be optioned at the end of this and we’d all move on. Butler will have to be exposed to waivers before he can go back to Triple-A, however. Despite some rough showings in a couple of games in the majors, he does have a strong reputation in the organization and probably throughout the league for handling developing pitchers. That could help him get claimed, but it’s not as if another team could then stash him in the minors. I would expect he’ll clear waivers and be back in Pawtucket soon, but it’s no guarantee. We’ll keep an eye on the transaction tracker to see what happens.