LOS ANGELES -- The Boston Red Sox claimed catcher Bryan Holaday off waivers Friday, the day after 10-year veteran Ryan Hanigan was removed in the eighth inning of an extra-inning win against the Seattle Mariners after feeling "a popping sensation" in his left ankle while trying to block a pitch, manager John Farrell said.
Holaday was traveling to Southern California on Friday evening and was unavailable for the series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers, leaving Sandy Leon as the only healthy catcher. Farrell said a roster move would be made prior to Saturday afternoon's game against the Dodgers.
Holaday, 28, was placed on waivers by the Texas Rangers shortly after they acquired catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers just before Monday's trade deadline. Holaday was hitting .238 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in 94 plate appearances with the Rangers. He spent his first four MLB seasons as a backup with the Detroit Tigers.
"By all accounts and reports, he's a good handler of pitchers," Farrell said. "Game-calling has been a strong suit of his."
Hanigan's injury and his slumping bat could make the roster decision easier for Farrell. Hanigan is hitting just .158 this season with one home run and 13 RBIs in 102 plate appearances.
The catcher position has been a carousel most of the season for Boston.
Blake Swihart was the Opening Day starter before he was sent down to Triple-A after six games when Christian Vazquez came off the disabled list. Swihart was then switched to left field when he returned to the major league club. Despite his solid play behind the plate, Vazquez was hitting .226 in 51 games before he was demoted in early July when Hanigan came off the disabled list.
"Defensively, he's been solid," Farrell said of Vazquez. "There's still work being done offensively."
Leon, who hit .184 in 41 games with the Red Sox last season, has emerged as the most dependable catching option for the Red Sox. The fifth-year player entered Friday having hit .365 in 34 games, with three home runs and 16 RBIs.