TORONTO -- Three Boston Red Sox players are making good progress toward returning from the disabled list, as manager John Farrell provided an update on the conditions of Christian Vazquez, Carson Smith and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Vazquez was behind the plate on both Friday and Saturday for Triple-A Pawtucket, catching every inning of the two games as he continues his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Farrell said the Red Sox are keeping Vazquez on a schedule of "two [games] on and one off at this point, with the potential of two on and two off depending on the schedule." The goal is to eventually have Vazquez catch in three straight games.
The number of games, however, isn't as important to the Sox as Vazquez's overall endurance, given that he is getting back to action after missing the entire 2015 season.
"We haven't set a marker saying you have to catch X number of games consecutively," Farrell said. "What we want him to do is get enough reps where he has built his legs up, his back up, his throwing. ... Having not caught in over a year, he's got to get in game shape a little bit.
"He's come through [the two games] with no issues physically, he's throwing the ball well. He responded to the cold temperatures favorably. All in all, that's been good."
Smith threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Sunday, his first time throwing off a mound since being placed on the DL in late March with a strain of his flexor mass muscle. Farrell said that Smith will throw another bullpen session no earlier than Tuesday.
The eventual plan is for Smith to face some live hitting before returning to action, Farrell said, likely in an extended spring training setting. The Red Sox aren't getting too far ahead in setting checkpoints for Smith's return, however, and there isn’t yet a timetable.
"We're taking the approach that once we get into the bullpen phase, we'll see how he responds to that," Farrell said.
Rodriguez will throw a simulated game Sunday in the latest step of his recovery from a dislocated knee in late February. The injury drastically set back Rodriguez's spring preparation time, and Farrell said the focus is on Rodriguez building his endurance to return to the rotation. Rodriguez is projected to return in late April or early May.