The Boston Red Sox aren’t going to make a knee-jerk reaction.
Red Sox manager John Farrell indicated Monday that top catching prospect Blake Swihart likely will begin the season at Triple-A Pawtucket despite fellow backstop Christian Vazquez landing on the 60-day disabled list with a right elbow sprain.
According to Farrell, the Red Sox would like to give Swihart more time to develop in the minors before turning him loose at the major league level.
“The view is that with a young player like Blake or other guys, we prefer to get them on a little bit of a roll at the minor league level before they come to us,” Farrell told reporters Monday in Fort Myers, Fla. “There’s also the need to continue to refine the receiving side of things. He’s gotten quite a bit of opportunity here in camp. He’s shown well I think. But just in the big picture, I think we can probably all benefit by playing every day and continuing to work on the developmental areas that are there.”
Swihart, who turns 23 on Friday, is considered the best catching prospect in Major League Baseball. He’s also the Red Sox’s No. 2 prospect behind recently signed Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, according to MLB.com.
Ryan Hanigan is expected to be the Red Sox’s starting catcher in Vazquez’s absence. Boston likely will turn to either 26-year-old Sandy Leon, who was acquired from the Washington Nationals on Monday, or 35-year-old Humberto Quintero to serve as the backup.
Leon, who is out of minor league options, was placed on the Red Sox’s 40-man roster, so it appears he has the inside track on Boston’s backup gig. Quintero, who is not on the 40-man roster, has an opt-out deadline of Tuesday, but the veteran journeyman could accept a minor league assignment.
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images