FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox, acting quickly to supplement their catching depth because of Christian Vazquez's elbow injury, have acquired reserve catcher Sandy Leon from the Washington Nationals on Monday.
The Red Sox, who placed Vazquez on the 60-day disabled list Monday with a right elbow sprain, acquired Leon for cash considerations, the Red Sox announced.
"This is a guy who, given Christian's situation, we felt like we needed to build some depth at the position -- a guy that's available because of being out of options and someone we've always graded fairly high on the receiving end of the position," manager John Farrell said.
"Other than scouting reports, we really don't know anything about him, so we'll take every available day and opportunity to do just that."
Leon, 26, is out of options, and the Nationals didn't believe he would clear waivers, making him expendable. The native of Venezuela has caught 34 games in parts of three seasons for the Nationals and was batting .286 (6-for-21) this spring.
Last season, Leon made 17 starts for Washington and posted a .156/.229/.219/.447 batting line. He did, however, throw out 5 of 8 runners attempting to steal. He was the third catcher on Washington's depth chart, behind starter Wilson Ramos and main backup Jose Lobaton.
"He's always been a good catch-and-throw guy,'' one major league talent evaluator told ESPNBoston.com on Monday morning. "A switch-hitter, decent stroke, but never has had consistent at-bats to get it really going. He's been up and down with Washington, doing a good job as backup catcher. I am sure Washington would have liked to have kept him but he is out of options and other teams also had interest.''
In 34 major league games with the Nationals over the past three seasons, Leon hit .189 with three doubles, one homer and five RBIs. He is a career .236 batter in the minors.
Vazquez is scheduled to visit orthopedist Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his throwing elbow that has kept him out of major league games since March 13. He underwent an MRI exam on Friday.
Vazquez's injury leaves Ryan Hanigan as the team's No. 1 catcher entering the season. Hanigan, who has played in as many as 100 games only once in his career, was acquired from the San Diego Padres in December for third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
The Leon acquisition would also appear to signal that the Red Sox have elected to give top prospect Blake Swihart more seasoning in the minors rather than rushing him to the big leagues.
Veteran backup Humberto Quintero, a non-roster invitee, could still figure in the mix at catcher, although the acquisition of Leon is an indication that the Red Sox wanted another alternative and more depth at the position.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.