Red Sox in 'state of flux' as team sorts out the catcher position

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Good evening from the Fort, where the Boston Red Sox were in a "state of flux" -- manager John Farrell's depiction of the scenario on Sunday -- and are even more so Monday after the team acquired catcher Sandy Leon from the Washington Nationals.

The Red Sox placed starting catcher Christian Vazquez (right elbow sprain) on the 60-day disabled list Monday and will send him to Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday to see renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

Ryan Hanigan takes over as the starter, and now they have to figure out what to do with Leon, journeyman Humberto Quintero and Blake Swihart, the top catching prospect in baseball.

Based on Farrell's comments Monday before the game against the Minnesota Twins, Leon -- who is out of options and is on the team's 40-man roster -- will likely slide into the backup role. Quintero, a non-roster spring invitee, and Swihart will be sent to Triple-A Pawtucket.

"I can't deny that that's a factor," Farrell said of the roster situations. "It's probably the same reason why he (Leon) became available to us. So that's a factor in all of this, particularly when you start to look at trying to build depth. That's not to take anything away from Humberto because he's done a very good job for us."

Swihart appears headed to Pawtucket simply to gain more seasoning, since he's played just 18 games in Triple-A.

"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 said. "There's also the need to continue to refine the receiving side of things. Now, 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 [Swihart] playing every day and continuing to work on those developmental areas that are there."

Leon will make his Red Sox debut in Port Charlotte Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. He will wear No. 3, formerly worn by catcher David Ross.

Losing Vazquez, meanwhile, might be more significant than many imagine.

"It's a young guy that's extremely talented -- a lot to like about him as a person and what he showed in the 55 games or so that he caught for us last year," Farrell said. "The time missed will interrupt his development at the major-league level. What I mean by that is just his overall game-calling -- the running of the game, which has been solid. There's always going to be things he can learn. That's going to be interrupted at this point. So it's a blow to us, it's a blow to him, and we've got to support him."

Here are some other notes and the lineup for today's game:

Pitcher Matt Barnes came down with food poisoning Monday and will be scratched from Tuesday's appearance."I can tell you he'll throw in bullpen before he gets back in a game," Farrell said. "We're not going to risk anything as far as fluid levels. No, we'll make sure he gets his legs back before he gets back in a game."

Bullpen pitchers Anthony Varvaro, Junichi Tazawa, Edward Mujica and Tommy Layne will go Tuesday for first four or five innings, and Keith Couch will follow them with a multiple-inning stint.


Mookie Betts, CF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Hanley Ramirez, LF

Pablo Sandoval, 3B

Mike Napoli, 1B

Shane Victorino, RF

Xander Bogaerts, SS

Humberto Quintero, C

Justin Masterson, RHP


Danny Santana, SS

Brian Dozier, 2B

Joe Mauer, 1B

Torii Hunter, RF

Kennys Vargas, DH

Trevor Plouffe, 3B

Oswaldo Arcia, LF

Kurt Suzuki, C

Jordan Schafer, CF

Kyle Gibson, RHP