It’s been a tough start to the season for the Boston Red Sox, and that’s putting it rather mildly.
That, coincidentally or not, has been paired with Sandy Leon getting out-righted off the Sox’s 40-man roster and accepting a demotion to Triple-A Pawtucket to begin the season.
Leon has opened up about the move, and now fellow backstop Christian Vazquez also has weighed in.
Vazquez and Leon combined to start 145 games behind the dish last year. Leon made the bulk of those starts with 78.
Vazquez now has taken over as Boston’s No. 1 catcher, but admitted that he misses Leon and the two have stayed in touch since camp broke.
“I tell him I miss him. He’s a good friend and it’s always going to be like that,” Vazquez said, via MassLive’s Christopher Smith.
But Vazquez thinks the pitching staff is in a “good place,” despite Leon’s absence.
“Of course, it’s tough. I’ve got Sandy for four years with me here,” Vazquez said. “I know him before that. We played against (each other) in the minor leagues. All leagues from rookie to Triple A. He’s a good friend. A good teammate. Great catcher. But it’s business. It’s part of the game, you know. It sucks. But like I said, it’s part of the game. But we’re in a good place right now. I think we need to adjust a couple pitchers. And we’re going to be fine.”
Vazquez also speculated as to what he and fellow catcher Blake Swihart can do to help the starting rotation out of their current funk to start the season.
“Continue to do our job calling good pitches and trying to get less hard contact,” Vazquez said. “I think expand more. I know it’s the beginning of the season, but I think we need to maybe pitch more quality pitches not in the zone. Not pitching in the zone so the hitters chase more. And I think that’s the goal.”
Vazquez caught 10 of 14 games in the postseason last year, and obviously has a good handle of the pitching staff. While many Red Sox arms have been outspoken in their praise of Leon, it’s hard to pin the early struggles on his absence.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images