The Red Sox’s roster shuffle continued Friday as Boston replaced one young catcher with another up-and-coming backstop.
Blake Swihart was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after struggling defensively to begin the season. Christian Vazquez, meanwhile, returned from Pawtucket and was activated from the 15-day disabled list after five rehab games with the PawSox.
The Red Sox also announced they’ve recalled infielder Marco Hernandez, giving them a left-handed bat off the bench. Boston had an open roster spot after optioning right-handed-hitting outfielder Rusney Castillo to Pawtucket following Wednesday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Vazquez missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery toward the end of spring training. The 25-year-old was solid in his first taste of major league action in 2014, though. Several members of the organization have lauded his defense and his game-calling.
On the flip side, Swihart has flashed his offensive potential at several points since being thrown into the fire last season after Vazquez and veteran backup Ryan Hanigan suffered injuries. He hit .274 with five home runs, 31 RBIs and a .712 OPS in 84 games in 2015, improving both offensively and defensively as the season progressed, but the Red Sox’s pitching staff has been up and down to begin 2016, and the 24-year-old could use some more seasoning behind the dish.
Hernandez, 23, hit .305 with nine home runs, 53 RBIs and a .783 OPS in 114 games last season split between Pawtucket and Double-A Portland. He began this season at Triple-A, where he’s played both second base and shortstop.
The Swihart-Vazquez swap represents another major change for the Red Sox, who benched third baseman Pablo Sandoval on the 15-day disabled list earlier this week with a left shoulder strain.
Thumbnail photo via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart
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