Ryan Hanigan’s injury pushed the Red Sox to throw Blake Swihart directly into the fire upon his big league promotion, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Learning on the fly is hardly ideal for a catcher, but Boston doesn’t have much choice and Swihart says he’s up for the task. “I feel ready,” he said. “I don’t think I’d be here if I didn’t feel ready. I love a challenge. I’m ready.” A look at the AL and NL East..
- Ryan Howard earned his 10-and-5 rights on Saturday, but Phillies GM Ruben Amaro claims he isn’t concerned about how that could affect a potential trade. “I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Amaro said, according to Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s a big deal for him, for two reasons: I think he should be recognized for [having] the most games played at first base in our franchise. That’s a pretty awesome feat, No. 1. And No. 2, obviously he’s been a long-standing member of this club and has had a great deal to do with the success.” As Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News explained over the weekend, Howard essentially had full no-trade protection prior to Saturday thanks to a modification to Jimmy Rollins‘ contract before his trade.
- Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald wonders how history would have been changed if Alex Rodriguez joined the Red Sox back in 2003. The player’s union shot down a deal that would have sent Rodriguez to the Rangers for Manny Ramirez and Jon Lester (then a prospect in Single-A) because A-Rod would have taken a $28MM pay cut to make the deal possible. If that marriage did take place, it might not have lasted long. Apparently, the Red Sox would have allowed Rodriguez to opt out of his contract after the 2007 season, multiple sources familiar with the team’s thinking at the time tell Lauber. And unlike the Yankees, who re-signed him to a 10-year, $275MM contract after allowing him to exercise the opt-out, they “definitely would have let him walk,” an NL exec said.
- As a Hall of Famer managing in the bigs after his induction, Phillies skipper Ryne Sandberg is part of a rare breed. Despite his resume, Sandberg didn’t feel like he was too good to work his way up through managing in the minors first, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. “I would say that just because you’re a Hall of Famer doesn’t mean managing is for you,” said Sandberg, whose team is in last place in the NL East. “I think the perception is that Hall of Famers don’t want to prove (themselves) and go the route that you have to go. I thought it was necessary and worthwhile for me.”