FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have admitted they’ll be without catcher Christian Vazquez for a while.
The club placed him on the 60-day disabled list Monday with a sprained right elbow. The move allows the Red Sox to add newly-acquired catcher Sandy Leon to the 40-man roster. With the transaction, the Red Sox now have 44 players in big league camp, including 32 active players from the 40-man roster, 11 non-roster invitees, and one player on the disabled list.
Leon, 26, has appeared in 13 games this spring for the Nationals, batting .286 (6-for-21) with one double and three RBI. A switch-hitter, he appeared in 20 games for Washington last season, making 17 starts behind the plate.
The native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, has hit .189 (18-for-95) with three doubles, one home run, five RBI, and nine runs scored in 34 big league games, all with Washington (2012-14). Considered a defensive specialist, Leon has thrown out six of 15 potential base stealers in the major leagues. The Nationals won 16 of his 26 starts (.615) over the past three seasons.
Over four stints with the Nationals in 2014, he went 10-for-64 (.156) with a double, a home run, and three RBI while throwing out five of eight potential base stealers from behind the plate. In 51 games with Triple-A Syracuse last season, he batted .229 with nine doubles, five home runs, 25 RBI, and 23 walks, and caught 12 of 21 would-be base stealers.
Leon, who will wear No. 3, was originally signed by Washington as an international free agent on Jan. 17, 2007. Over his eight minor league seasons, he has thrown out 45 percent (245 of 543) of attempted base stealers.
Vazquez, 24, appeared in six Grapefruit Leagues games this spring, last on March 20 against the Orioles as designated hitter. The right-handed batter appeared in 55 games for the Red Sox in 2014, his first career major league action, after taking over as the team’s regular catcher in July. He hit .240 (42-for-175) with nine doubles, a home run, 20 RBI, and 19 walks for Boston.
A native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, he threw out 52% of attempted base stealers (15 of 29) for the Red Sox, best in the majors among catchers with at least 50 games behind the plate and the best such mark in club history (since CS began being tracked in the AL in 1920).