Red Sox

Farrell: Opening Day 'would be a stretch' for Vazquez


Farrell: Opening Day 'would be a stretch' for Vazquez

SARASOTA, Fla. -- From the beginning of spring training, the Red Sox' inclination was to have catcher Christian Vazquez start the year somewhere other than with the major league club, giving him additional time to build arm strength after his Tommy John surgery a year ago.

On Saturday, John Farrell strongly hinted that hasn't changed, despite Vazquez's strong spring.

"It would be a stretch for Opening Day,'' acknowledged John Farrell before the Red Sox took on the Baltimore Orioles. "He's catching another game today [in the minor leagues], for back-to-back games. By the time we break, we'll have gotten him out to nine innings. If it's not Opening Day, he's making strides, getting closer to that.

"[In terms of where Christian's at], I don't know that we could have drawn it up any better - how much work he's gotten in and the repeition and the innings caught behind the plate.''

The Red Sox haven't decided where Vazquez will be if he's not with the club in Cleveland April 4. He could begin a rehab assignment with Pawtucket or remain in warm weather in the organization's extended spring program in Fort Myers.

"That's all to be determined,'' said Farrell. "He's getting game ready, so the only thing that we have to determine is how many times a week and how deep into each one of those outings do we run him.''

A number of Red Sox pitchers have praised Vazquez for his handling of the staff, game-calling, and of course, his arm strength. He's clearly the best defensive catcher on the Red Sox roster, but Farrell said he can't be rushed.

"We can't bring him here before he's ready,'' said Farrell. "Christian's schedule, his progression is mapped out for his benefit. If we're doing right by Christian, we're doing right by the Red Sox. Christian's a tremendous catcher. He's got a long career ahead of him, so we want to make sure that we don't skip any steps along the way or rush him before it's time.''

The Sox, of course, have Ryan Hanigan and Blake Swihart to handle catching in Vazquez's absence, as they did last year. Farrell was asked if he could envision a scenario whereby the Sox eventually carry three catchers.

"It's not been ruled out,'' Farrell said.

In the meantime, the Sox will have to figure out playing time for Swihart and Hanigan.

Farrell noted that Joe Kelly has enjoyed success with Hanigan catching him, meaning the two could pair up in the season. Hanigan also caught David Price a lot while the two were teammates in Tampa Bay for the first half of the 2014 season.

Some decisions may be made based on who's pitching against the Sox, but the Sox will take their cue more from their own side.

"You'd prioritize the pitcher-catcher relationship.'' Farrell said. "We're not turning a blind eye to all the factors involved, but I think we have to take care of ourselves before we'd look to match up from an offensive side.''

Red Sox trade Marrero to Diambondbacks

Red Sox trade Marrero to Diambondbacks

The Red Sox traded infielder Deven Marrero to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named or cash. 

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made the announcement on Saturday.

Marrero, 27, was fighting for one of the final roster spots as a bench player, along with utility man Brock Holt.  The first-round pick in 2012 out of Arizona State had spent his entire pro career with the Red Sox organization. He appeared in 109 major league games from 2015-17, making 50 starts at third base, nine at second base, and five at shortstop.

In 2017, the right-handed hitter played in a career-high 71 major league games, batting .211 with four home runs and 27 RBI. 

Early exit for Sale after liner off leg, but he's expected to be OK

Early exit for Sale after liner off leg, but he's expected to be OK

Red Sox ace Chris Sale is expected to be able to make his Opening Day start after he was struck in the left leg by a line drive off the bat of the Houston Astros' J.D. Davis in the first inning on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla., and had to leave his final spring training start. 

After being examined by team medical personnel on the field, Sale walked back to the dugout. He was taken for precautionary X-rays which showed no structural damage.

The Red Sox said Sale sustained a contusion on his left leg.  "I don't see anything lingering from this. It looked a lot worse than it was," Sale told reporters. "It scared the hell out of me,”

Sale is scheduled to be the Red Sox Thursday in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.  Manager Alex Cora and Sale said he'd be OK to make the start.