Sox add Swihart, designate Leon for assignment

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ANAHEIM -- Prior to their first game with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Monday, the Red Sox added Blake Swihart to their roster and designated

Sandy Leon for assignment. Swihart had been on the DL with a toe injury for the last few weeks and completed a rehab assignment recently at Triple-A Pawtucket.

"We're trying to get an upgrade on offense to the total catching position,'' said John Farrell. "Sandy did an excellent job for us in the time that he was here, but with the choice of trying to get a little more offense, Blake is here.''

Swihart, who made his major league debut in early May when Hanigan went on the disabled list with a broken knuckle, struggled in the early going but began to hit more as he grew more comfortable. He's hitting .241/.279/.323 with a homer and 11 RBI in 40 games.

Leon hit just .180 with a .247 on-base percentage and a .191 slugging percentage in 33 games with the Red Sox. But his real value came as a strong defensive catcher who shut down the opponents' running game. Leon threw out 56 percent (9 of 16) of would-be base-stealers.

He also became Clay Buchholz's personal catcher and paired well with the righthander.

But Farrell pointed out that the timing of the move with Leon, "wasn't predicated on Clay being on the disabled list. Nor should you look at it as we're finding that Clay's going to DL'd even longer. That's not in this at all, either.''

Farrell emphazied that the Sox still view Hanigan as the team's No. 1 catcher for the time being, though Swihart will play more than a standard backup.

"At this point, Ryan would still be our lead catcher,'' he said. "Blake is not going to be in traditional backup mode, where it's (only) a day game after a night game, or once every seven days. There's going to more to it than that. But still we all view Ryan as our lead catcher right now.''

As for pairing up certain pitchers with catchers, Farrell said the Sox still want Hanigan to catch Rick Porcello. The two have worked well together in Porcello's most recent two starts.

"How other guys fall with that, that will work itself out,'' said Farrell.

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