BOSTON — The Red Sox will be a little light at the catcher position over the next couple weeks.
The Red Sox placed left fielder/catcher Blake Swihart (left ankle sprain) and catcher Ryan Hanigan (neck strain) on the 15-day disabled list Sunday ahead of their series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Both players left Saturday’s game with injuries in a span of under an inning, with Hanigan exiting after the sixth and Swihart leaving in the top of the seventh.
Swihart’s ankle, which he injured crashing into the side wall in left field, will be examined Sunday by team’s foot specialist, Dr. George Theodore, while Hanigan underwent an MRI on his neck Sunday, per manager John Farrell. Farrell didn’t provide any further updates on each player’s timetable for return.
With Boston’s catching depth chart down to just starting catcher Christian Vazquez, the team called up catcher Sandy Leon from Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox also recalled outfielder Rusney Castillo and relief pitcher Heath Hembree and optioned reliever Noe Ramirez to Pawtucket. Farrell said Castillo will serve as a reserve outfielder, with Chris Young expected to get the majority of starts in left field with Swihart and Brock Holt (concussion) sidelined.
Leon does have the benefit of experience, having caught in 41 games for Boston last season.
“Sandy’s a guy that walks into our clubhouse with the comfort level of everyone on our staff and in our uniforms,” Farrell said before Sunday’s game. “So, we’re fortunate we have a guy that we can turn to in his case.”
The Red Sox would have been in dire straits had anything happened to Vazquez on Saturday, however. With Hanigan and Swihart both out of the game, Farrell admitted the team was giving a “crash course” in the dugout to utility infielder Marco Hernandez, who would have been next in line to go behind the plate.
Judging by Farrell’s description of Hernandez’s “crash course,” it’s a good thing Hernandez wasn’t forced into action.
“You’re asking the basic question, ‘Have you ever caught before?'” Farrell said.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images