Upbeat Christian Vazquez will stay involved as he recovers

FORT MYERS, Fla. – And so the long road to recovery begins for Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez.

Vazquez, who returned to the clubhouse Saturday morning for the first time since having Tommy John surgery Thursday, said he will spend the next few months at the Fenway South complex, then fly to Boston to be with the team. He is expected to need a full year to recover.

“I don’t know [the rehab plan] yet, but I’m going to find out,” Vazquez said.

Manager John Farrell declined to provide specifics in his morning briefing, but indicated that Vazquez will be involved in studying game plans and opponents.

“We don’t have the exact details worked out on that, but [in] situations like this that I’ve seen, you can do some things to bring along the thought pattern and how it can play out in time,” he said. “We don’t want this nine to 12 months of time to not be constructive, so we’ll put a structure and framework to it to try to do the best we can to keep his knowledge of the league and his interaction with us — even though it’s not going to be in uniform — to continue to grow.”

Vazquez said he has never had surgery before, but “it’s part of life. If I need this to get better, I need it.”

And his confidence was boosted by the knowledge that the surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews, who perfected the Tommy John procedure that Dr. Frank Jobe pioneered in 1974. Vazquez said Andrews took a tendon from his right wrist to replace the ligament in his damaged right elbow.

“He’s the best in the business,” Vazquez said. “I trust him.”

Since the MRI that raised concerns and ultimately led to his visit with Andrews, Vazquez was described as upbeat. And he seemed that way in the clubhouse as he sat with Brock Holt at Holt’s locker and then prowled the clubhouse, talking with catcher Humberto Quintero and accepting a hug from Hanley Ramirez.

“I’m fine,” Vazquez said. “I’m positive. Just keep working.”

Said Holt: “He seems in good spirits. I think they’ve got the plan in place, and hopefully it’s a healthy, speedy recovery. It’s good to see him, man. Going into his first full season, he was going to be a big part of what we were going to do. I hate to see that happen but wish him a speedy recovery.”