BOSTON — Catcher Christian Vazquez said recently he thought he was major league-ready. The Red Sox evidently agree.
Vazquez, one of the Red Sox’s top prospects, was promoted Wednesday from Triple-A Pawtucket to Boston as the club designated veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski for assignment. It was news that Vazquez was thrilled to hear.
“I’m happy,” a smiling Vazquez said before Wednesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park. “I’m excited to be here to help the team to win. Very happy.”
Pierzynski was signed by the Red Sox over the offseason to bridge the gap to Vazquez and fellow catching prospect Blake Swihart, who currently is at Double-A Portland. However, the 37-year-old underperformed, particularly offensively, so the Red Sox, who find themselves in last place in the American League East, decided now is the time to get a glimpse of the future.
“I think it’s important to note that this — where we are today — is not pinning this on A.J. by any means,” Farrell said Wednesday. “We felt like there was a player ready to step in that we wanted to give valuable time this year as we move forward, and that’s Christian, and that’s where we started.”
Vazquez brings stellar defense and an improving bat to the Red Sox. He hit .279 with three homers, 20 RBIs and a .336 on-base percentage with the PawSox, while also throwing out 40 percent of would-be base stealers (19 of 48). The 23-year-old seemingly has all of the tools to become a very good major league catcher, and the Red Sox were well-prepared to take the plunge, especially with a veteran backup like David Ross already in place.
“We don’t look at it as a gamble at all,” Farrell said. “We feel like there’s a structure in place that will help ease his transition.”
The current plan calls for Vazquez to catch four games and Ross to catch three games over the course of a typical week. Ross will continue to work in tandem with Jon Lester.
Photo via Twitter/@ColouroftheIris