FORT MYERS, Fla. — The young star catcher of the Red Sox is going to see the expert in elbows to get a second opinion.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The young star catcher of the Red Sox is going to see the expert in elbows to get a second opinion.

Red Sox manager John Farrell announced Sunday morning that Christian Vazquez will make the trip north to Pensacola, Fla. to visit with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday.

An MRI performed on Friday after his last appearance behind the plate revealed “findings” in his right elbow.

The team has shut down the 24-year-old catcher indefinitely as doctors look into what might be wrong with the right arm.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Farrell finally dispensed with the drama toward the end of his Sunday pre-game briefing with reporters at JetBlue Park.

Clay Buchholz will be the 2015 Red Sox Opening Day starter. (Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz will be the 2015 Red Sox Opening Day starter. (Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Farrell finally dispensed with the drama toward the end of his Sunday pre-game briefing with reporters at JetBlue Park.

Clay Buchholz will be the starting pitcher when the Red Sox begin the season April 6 in Philadelphia. Rick Porcello will start the second game on April 8 while the third pitcher for the series is undecided, pending roster moves in the final week before the team breaks camp.

Farrell made the announcement unprompted toward the end of the session with reporters, after several media inquiries the last three weeks were met with polite procrastination from the Red Sox skipper.

“Buchholz will start Monday in Philly,” Farrell announced.

What went into the decision?

“A whole plan, I’ll leave it at that,” Farrell quipped, before adding some insight and perspective. “He came into camp in a good place, both mentally and physically. Each bullpen to game outing he pitched, his delivery is on line. The line score last time out doesn’t reflect the way the ball came out of his hand. Now, line scores are important. I get it. But he feels good physically. He’s confident. We’ve seen when Clay has been in that place, he’s one of the better pitchers in baseball. We fully expect that to begin the season in that form.

“He’s embraced it. He understands and has lived the changes that have gone on around him. He is fully aware of everything that is Boston and that goes along with being a starting pitcher for the Red Sox. He doesn’t back away from it. He may go about it in his own way. He’s not the most vocal guy in the world. He’s been here for a number of years and to me, he’s in a position to embrace that and assume that.”

As for procrastinating in announcing to the media, Farrell made no apologies Sunday.

“I think you come into spring training with a thought and a plan and you want to see it kind of play out,” Farrell said. “I think if we come in without that plan, the last thing we will ever have is guys being directionless. It’s important to have that tentative plan in place. That’s been in place since last winter.

“Nothing specific to him. I think even last year with Jon Lester, it was very clear. He was going to be our [No. 1] starter. We want to make sure guys get through an appropriate number of starts and there’s no physical ailments or setbacks along the way and just let it play out. There’s no rush to name it, I don’t think. Guys have an understanding internally of where we have guys lined up and you let it work its way through.

“I think most every starting pitcher views Opening Day as an honor, that it’s been earned to some extent. And through time here in the organization, through elite performance and fairly long stretches for Clay, this is his time.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

After reports surfaced earlier this month of the Jerry Remy’s restaurant near Fenway Park closing for financial problems, according to the Boston Globe the restaurant will reopen in time for the Red Sox‘ home opener April 13 under new ownership and management.

The report says the Cronin Group, who currently owns the Jerry Remy’s Seaport location, is taking over and will license the Jerry Remy’s name, so the name of the restaurant will stay the same. It adds the new Remy’s will feature a revamped menu and have a “spruced-up interior.”

Besides the Seaport location, other Remy’s locations include Logan Airport and Fall River.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.

Hanley Ramirez swings away Saturday against the Rays in spring training action. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Hanley Ramirez swings away Saturday against the Rays in spring training action. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Steven Wright and Matt Barnes made their best pitches for spots on the Red Sox roster in Saturday’s 9-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park.

Hanley Ramirez, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli also made big contributions in the win as the Red Sox try to build some momentum at the end of spring training and get over the sting of losing catcher Christian Vazquez indefinitely with a problematic right elbow.

Wright no-hit the Rays over the first three innings and appeared ready to get out of the fourth with another scoreless frame before Xander Bogaerts bobbled a routine two-out grounder in the fourth, opening the floodgates for five unearned runs off Wright.

The knuckleballing Wright still earned the win, improving to 3-0 this spring. He has an impressive 1.32 ERA, allowing just two earned runs in 13 2/3 innings.

The man who replaced Wright was Matt Barnes. The hard-throwing righty trying to earn a spot as a reliever showed his value, getting the final out and then finishing the next two innings, allowing just one hit while striking out four.

Brandon Workman followed. Workman was scheduled to appear against the Braves on Friday before rain washed away the final three innings. Workman struck out the side in the seventh, allowing one hit.

Offensively, this was a game to watch the offense produce in spots one through five. Shane Victorino, Brock Holt, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez and Mike Napoli all had one hit apiece, with all five except Holt driving in at least one run. Ramirez lined a double to left in his second at-bat and finished with two RBIs as the Red Sox built a 6-0 lead. Mike Napoli followed that third inning double with a two-run homer just inside the right field foul pole for his third homer of the spring.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — So what now for the Red Sox as they look for solutions to their suddenly paper thin catching situation?

The obvious solution is already in front of them.

Ryan Hanigan

Ryan Hanigan

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — So what now for the Red Sox as they look for solutions to their suddenly paper thin catching situation?

The obvious solution is already in front of them.

Ryan Hanigan and Humberto Quintero. The two veterans. The 35-year-old Quintero is a defensive specialist on his eight major league team, the last five of which he made after signing a minor league contract. He was signed on Jan. 12 after the Mariners released him after last season. The 34-year-old Hanigan played in a career-high 112 games in 2012 as the Reds won the NL Central Division. But since then, his numbers have dropped, playing in 75 and 84 games the last two seasons with the Reds and Rays, respectively. But Hanigan said Saturday he is “absolutely” ready to be the primary catcher if Vazquez is out indefinitely.

“I always train to come in to be a starting guy,” Hanigan said. “That’s what I always wanted, to tell you the truth. I train that way in the offseason so I’m going to work hard to be ready whenever my name is called. I figured that would probably be the situation. But put in my work daily and keep the body going and get on the field.

“You have to put in a lot of time after the game, recovery-wise. As much time as you put in preparing, you have to put in your hour, hour-and-a-half after to make sure you’re ready for the next day. I’ve tweaked my program off and on through the years to try and figure out how my body works and the best way to make myself feel good and fresh every day. You just have to be diligent and be on it and just put in time. These guys [training staff] are great back there. They’re always there for me.”

Blake Swihart is just 22 and considered the second-best catching prospect behind Vazquez in the system. He can hit but the Red Sox would like to see him seasoned more behind the plate. Still, he’s a good enough prospect to have been mentioned this offseason along with Mookie Betts in Cole Hamels trade speculation.

Hanigan’s heart went out to Vazquez when he heard the news that the MRI didn’t come back clean on Saturday.

“It’s tough. I don’t know what to say about that,” Hanigan said. “He’s worked hard. I know he’s excited but he’s young and he’s going to have a bright future and it’s just too bad. I haven’t had a chance to really talk to him yet. I just heard today as well. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Man, he’s a good kid. He worked hard. It’s just too bad. Things happen. He’ll be back. He’s just going to have to put in the work to get himself back. The positive thing is whatever happens, he won’t have to deal with the rest of his career. Get it taken of now. I don’t know what the details are and I don’t want to say anything more about it. I was looking forward to working with him this year. It’s just too bad.

“I don’t speculate. I didn’t know what was going on. I had some arm problems when I was younger, too. I wasn’t sure of the extent of it. You just never know. Yeah, it had been 12 or 13 days at this point, it’s getting to be go-time here. You never know what’s going on. I don’t really worry about the trainers. They know what they’re doing. They get these guys right. When you find out what the deal is all you can do is feel for the kid. You know he’s pumped up, excited, ready to go. It’s just a tough thing but he’ll back. He’ll be back.

“When I was coming up in college, I had some elbow stuff. I changed my strength program, doing some different things to really work on the shoulder, take pressure off the elbow. I was fortunate. I had some guys when I was coming up to show me some things to help me really throw in a way that was going to take as much pressure off that elbow as I could. I was fortunate for that. I really put in the time to make sure that I changed things a little bit to make sure I wasn’t cranking on that elbow too much.”

If Hanigan is THE guy behind the plate to handle the pitching staff, he feels confident he’s learned enough habits of the pitchers to feel authoritative behind the plate.

“Real good, actually. I’ve had a lot of good conversation with these guys,” Hanigan said. “I can still benefit in this next week and a half from sequencing stuff, calling the game, what they can execute, what they can throw off certain pitches but I feel good. I know what their ball does. I know how they want to pitch. I’ve been able to talk to them and give my two cents on what I think can help some of these guys and they’ve been very receptive so far. I’ve gotten good feedback so I’m excited.

“See how it goes. You’re going to make some adjustments on the fly as the season goes I’m sure, and make some changes here and there but I feel good.”

Of course, the Red Sox could opt to take rookie Blake Swihart north with them instead of Quintero if they feel Swihart – and the team – could benefit from being exposed to major league action right out of the gate.

As he has since March 13, when Vazquez caught his last regular spring game, Farrell will look at all options and combinations in the final week before the team breaks camp next Saturday.

“We’ll continue to evaluate the internal candidates,” said Farrell. “That means Quintero, that means Swi is going to catch some [in camp], as he’s been. It means that Hanigan will probably get more games behind the plate as we get into the start of the season. And that’s probably the best I can tell you right now.”

Farrell has seen a catching catastrophe before. In 2010, in his final season as Terry Francona‘s pitching coach, the team lost Jason Varitek to a foot injury and both backups, forcing them to sign Kevin Cash, across the field on Saturday as the Rays’ first-year manager.

“We’re not that desperate yet,” Farrell quipped.

But that joke nearly became reality in the sixth inning Saturday when Hanigan took a foul tip off a Matt Barnes pitch off his left leg. He immediately popped up and hobbled around the plate. Farrell sprinted out of the dugout but not to worry, Hanigan finished the inning and appeared in the dugout in the seventh inning walking around without a limp.

“Just a foul tip. Tipped off his bat and got me,” Hanigan said. “No big deal. Feels alright. Sucked at the time but it’s all good.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Blake Swihart is the Red Sox' catcher of the future, but the future is not now.</span></p>
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