Red Sox’s Blake Swihart Soaking Up ‘Valuable’ Info From Jason Varitek

Blake Swihart is approaching the next stage of his development as if it’s a final exam: the more knowledge, the better.

Swihart already is working out at the Boston Red Sox’s spring training complex in Fort Myers, Fla., even though pitchers and catchers aren’t officially scheduled to report until Feb. 20. The young backstop is attempting to absorb as much information as possible this spring, realizing his first major league call-up could be right around the corner.

“I need to get to know these guys, what they like to throw. Every pitcher is a little different and I need to learn the techniques they have,” Swihart told The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham on Monday. “That was one of the reasons to get here early, to build a relationship with these guys. My goal is to catch everybody at least once. I caught four bullpens (on Monday) and that was big for me.”

Swihart’s path to The Show currently is blocked by 24-year-old up-and-comer Christian Vazquez and 34-year-old veteran Ryan Hanigan. The 22-year-old is considered the Red Sox’s top prospect and the No. 1 catching prospect in Major League Baseball, though, so it shouldn’t be long before he makes his way to Boston.

Swihart told Abraham he doesn’t try to model his game after any one player. Instead, the former first-round pick is looking to pick and choose what works best for him in an attempt to become his “own breed of catcher.” But a little advice from a longtime captain can’t hurt, which is why Swihart has worked with former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who now serves as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.

“Jason is a book. I try to learn everything I can from him,” Swihart told Abraham. “We don’t just talk catching, we talk switch-hitting. He’s given me a lot of pointers. When he talks, I listen because he always had something valuable to say. He acted like he knew me from the start and I’ve always appreciated that.”

Swihart said at last month’s Red Sox Rookie Development Program that he’s not focused on the trade rumors that inevitably come with being Boston’s top farmhand. The talented catcher is too busy studying for that final exam, which could be passed out as early as this season.

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@_IFBDA

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