Red Sox update: Christian Vazquez questionable for Opening Day


The Red Sox have been relatively lucky in avoiding serious injuries this spring; however, the minor ailments are beginning to mount and the Christian Vazquez situation is developing into the most worrisome on the table.

Vazquez initially felt discomfort in his right elbow when throwing out a runner in a game against the Yankees on March 13th. So as to not push him this early in the season, the Red Sox shut him down immediately after the game and he has not appeared behind the plate since then. The Red Sox did plug Vazquez into their lineup as a designated hitter, indicating that he is able to hit without much discomfort, but his defense could become a concern in the coming weeks.

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Two weeks after suffering that injury, Vazquez’s situation is still uncertain. Manager John Farrell did have some words on Vazquez’s prognosis during a recent interview, though.

"Probably by the weekend we’ll have a more clear read on just that. We caught some guys back-to-back — no more than five innings when we did have a guy behind the plate on consecutive days. I don’t think it was workload-related. It was one throw that he felt it on."

Losing Vazquez would be a major blow to this Red Sox team and particularly the pitching staff. Though he is just 24 years old and has played all of half a season in the major leagues, he has already proven to be a fantastic defensive catcher. His handling of the pitching staff and rocket arm from behind the plate should vault him into the ranks of the best backstops in the league, making this elbow injury all the more concerning. Even if Vazquez is physically able to play, gunning down base runners is a major part of his game and elbow discomfort could likely hamper his performance in that area.

With a player as young and promising as Vazquez, it would be prudent for the Red Sox to wait until he has fully recovered. While backup catcher Ryan Hanigan is nothing special, he has shown the ability to serve as a starting catcher for stretches of time and he could likely hold his own in that role. Plus, while he’ll start the season in Triple-A, top prospect Blake Swihart is right around the corner and will likely make his debut for the Red Sox at some point this season. Vazquez would be a significant loss to the Red Sox, but nothing that the team couldn’t handle as long as he returns before long.

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