FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have acquired some organizational catching depth.

Sandy Leon

Sandy Leon

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have acquired some organizational catching depth.

A source confirms to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that catcher Sandy Leon is on his way to the Red Sox. Details as to who would be going the other way in the deal were not immediately available. Leon first told James Wagner of the Washington Post about the deal this morning.

Leon is 26 and out of options, and was considered a long shot to break camp with the Nationals. Christian Vazquez is scheduled for a second opinion on his right elbow with orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews Wednesday in Pensacola. He has been all but ruled out for the beginning of the season and his availability this season is up in the air. Manager John Farrell repeated again Sunday that the Red Sox are focused on internal candidates to fill the role of a second catcher on the team.

With Ryan Hanigan the clear choice to start most of the games, the battle for backup was between super prospect Blake Swihart and 35-year-old veteran Humberto Quintero.

Leon is a switch-hitter who has played sparingly over the past three seasons, totaling just 107 plate appearances in the majors, hitting just .189/.280/.253. Leon has fared better at Triple-A where he’s posted a .257/.358/.414.

Leon has, for the most part, been a minor league catcher, batting .236/.324/.329. Like Quintero, he’s considered a defensive specialist, throwing out 45 percent of would-be base stealers in his minor league career.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rusney Castillo is making it harder and harder to leave him off the Opening Day roster.

Red Sox starter Brian Johnson delivers a pitch Sunday at JetBlue Park. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Red Sox starter Brian Johnson delivers a pitch Sunday at JetBlue Park. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rusney Castillo is making it harder and harder to leave him off the Opening Day roster.

The Cuban outfielder showed again Sunday in a 3-2 10-inning win over the Rays at JetBlue Park why he is regarded as such a dynamic player and why the Red Sox invested $72.5 million over seven years in his potential.

With one out and the go-ahead runner at third in the top of the tenth of a 2-2 game, Castillo ranged far to his left, slid in foul territory and caught the ball just before it hit the grass. He popped up and fired a seed to catcher Matt Spring, who applied the tag on the runner trying to score for the inning-ending out.

Leading off the bottom of the inning, he did not homer over the Monster, as he did to win the game against the Twins last Thursday. Instead, he settled for a single to left to open the inning. He advanced to second on a passed ball and sped to third on an Allen Craig fly to medium center.

One out later, Castillo scored the game-winner again when Deven Marrero singled off the netting in left field for a 3-2 victory.

Other highlights Sunday included four innings from lefty starter Brian Johnson, who allowed six hits and two runs, striking out three and walking two. It was his sixth spring appearance and second start. Manager John Farrell indicated afterward that Johnson has definitely placed himself in the group of five depth starters behind the current rotation, a position from which he could realistically be called upon for a spot start sometime during the season.

As far as the bullpen is concerned, three of the five pitchers were among the group that Farrell mentioned before the game as candidates for late-inning action this season. As a whole, the pen allowed five hits over six scoreless innings. Edward Mujica allowed one hit and struck out a batter. Tommy Layne walked one in his inning of work and Junichi Tazawa got a nice around-the-horn doubleplay started by Brock Holt in his scoreless ninth inning.

Jess Todd threw a scoreless tenth to earn the win.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Clay Buchholz got the message loud and clear.

This is his time, his year, to step up and shine as the time-vested leader of the Red Sox rotation. The Red Sox rewarded him for his diligence this spring with the nod as the club’s Opening Day starter on April 6 in Philly.

“Obviously it’s a big, big honor,” Buchholz said before Sunday’s game at JetBlue Park. “It’s another game. I have to prepare just as I would for any other start. I think it gets a lot of publicity and lot of attention on it just for it being Opening Day. I’m willing to try and take it as normal as possible and try to cherish the moment because there aren’t many people that get to be a part of that or actually be an Opening Day starter, especially for an organization like Boston. Yeah, I’m happy about it.”

While the official announcement was made by manager John Farrell Sunday morning in the third base dugout, the message that the organization expected him to step forward was made clear to the 30-year right-hander much earlier.

“It’s something that you can use to your advantage for sure, knowing that there were a lot of changes done and made to this team in the offseason. Knowing what they did with the offense this offseason, we’re in a better place right now on paper to get the season going and to really feel confident about what this team can do. I think everybody is going to be excited once we leave out of here and once we get to Philly, regardless of how cold it is. A change might be good for a couple of guys. It’s an honor. I think everybody here is ready to go.”

“We have meetings once we get here with Ben and Juan and John. We sit down and sort of go over what they expect and the outlook on everything coming into camp. And that was one of the messages Ben gave to me.”

The Red Sox have placed a great deal of trust in Buchholz, mainly because they feel he has matured. Buchholz showed off his maturity and perspective Sunday.

“I’ve been here for a little bit,” Buchholz said. “I’ve had some ups and downs, both on the extreme side. I feel like I’ve matured a lot as person and baseball player. I think it’s just knowing that nobody is going to be perfect but if you practice to be perfect, I think the direction it’s going to go is a lot less [of a problem] than if you don’t practice that way, and that’s one of the things I’ve tried to instill in myself, try to do everything hard, work hard and be prepared. When adversity is presented to you, I think you really know how to respond to that in a different way, going through it before and then having a lot of success. I’ve been on both sides of the fence. It wasn’t always fun but I think it’s put me in a pretty good spot.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Joe and Alex talked with the Sox AGM about the state of the team as Opening Day approaches.

[0:00:01] ... Second anyone nothing raise and we welcome Lee senior. Vice president and assistant general manager of the Boston Red Sox my case into our Booth once again my great to have you with this joke and Alex hello Mike. I don't we ...
[0:06:40] ... seen it before. He really has this isn't the worst thing for Bryant Johnson right now we talked a lot about the adversity players. Need to face prior to coming to Boston given the challenges of ...
[0:09:23] ... aware of my case and it's night. Assistant general manager and senior vice president did. You know Alex we were we were talking before the break on Brian Johnson put those trying to get that was ...
[0:12:11] ... three. I strike but it has to pitch to wind down for Mike Napoli slider with some bite. Some bigger guys are gonna have to get ready for the regular season's coming and it's. I hit ...






Joe and Alex talked with the Sox AGM about the state of the team as Opening Day approaches.

[0:00:03] ... we welcome Lee senior. Vice president and assistant general manager of the Boston Red Sox my case into our Booth once again my great to have you with this note Alex hello Mike. I don't we can ...
[0:00:34] ... least for the moment but he was baited saudis want Francisco. And Bryant Johnson this is low and inside Paul want Francisco five for fourteen this spring with two homers. Did you feel like you slowed ...
[0:06:34] ... And despite what happened the first couple of innings he have to Bryant Johnson is really open a lot of eyes those of us around and seen it before. He really has this isn't the worst thing for Bryant Johnson right now we talked a lot about the adversity players. Need to face prior coming to Boston given the challenges of pitching ...
[0:08:44] ... showing right now consistently. Greek to his hit. Here are right field Victor Reno going back turns as the wind pushes it toward the line any snakes to catch him for a long wait for next ...






FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox pitching staff is still in flux one week before the season.

Koji Uehara won’t be ready for the season. Joe Kelly is still a big question mark. Edward Mujica is the closer for now but other options could be available.

Edward Mujica

Edward Mujica

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox pitching staff is still in flux one week before the season.

Koji Uehara won’t be ready for the season. Joe Kelly is still a big question mark. Edward Mujica is the closer for now but other options could be available.

The numerous decisions to be made is making John Farrell a busy man, as he acknowledged before Sunday’s game at JetBlue Park against the Rays.

First off, Farrell announced Uehara felt a twinge in his hamstring during a throwing session Saturday.

“We’re not scheduling a game yet,” Farrell said. “He’s going to need some additional increase in intensity and rehab to the hamstring. Whether or not that includes a bullpen after a couple of a days off, that’s probably our approach right now where he’ll take a couple of days down. He felt it a little bit [Saturday] in the bullpen. He’s still able to do throwing to the point of keeping his arm in shape to a certain extent. But we’re not game-ready yet.”

Who will be the closer? Edward Mujica, followed by a combination of possibilities, including Junichi Tazawa, Alexi Ogando and even lefty Tommy Layne.

“There’s been times where he’s thrown a ball down and away to right-handers with good stuff,” Farrell said of Mujica. “Right now, he would be the guy that we turn to in closing situations. I will also say that we would look to matchup in the ninth inning as well. We’ll look to exploit the best matchup, and that could be any one of three or four guys down there to finish a game.”

“Taz, if it’s Ogando. Against a tough lefty, it could be Tommy Layne. We’re not limiting any of our options.”

Farrell wouldn’t rule out a closer-by-committee but suggested it’s not the first option.

“There might be days where [Mujica] is not available,” Farrell said. “That would be no different than if Koji [weren’t] available. With Koji now not likely to start the season with us, if Koji were unavailable on a given day, it probably would’ve been Eddie. So there are other options. I’m not saying this is strictly a closer-by-committee. But we would look to close games out with Eddie but if there are certain situations that we feel like the better matchup is with a left-hander, I’m not opposed to doing that.”

Matt Barnes is an interesting possibility as well, somewhere in the bullpen. The right-hander who relieved Steven Wright Saturday, has been moved from starting to a relieving role.

“That’s an ongoing discussion,” Farrell said. “It’s a guy that’s been throwing three pitches for strikes so when you profile him out, he profiles as a starter. He’s also throwing the ball very well in shorter stints. He’s a good pitcher. We just want to be sure. There’s a number of moving parts in all of this, Joe Kelly’s situation to Koji’s situation. We’re taking every available opportunity to make decisons that are best for the invidual pitchers and where they plug in for us.”

As for the starting rotation, Joe Kelly (biceps) has been pitching in minor league games and the team wants to keep its disabled list options available if they decide to leave him behind when the team breaks camp. This is partially why Farrell did not announce a third pitcher for Philadelphia on Sunday, after confirming that Clay Buchholz would start the opener, followed by Rick Porcello on April 8.

With the possibility of both Uehara and Kelly starting the season on DL, the Red Sox could decide to take Steven Wright north and possibly Barnes.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

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