BOCA RATON, Fla. — Christian Vazquez’s winter rehab hit an unexpected snag and now his readiness for the start of spring training is in doubt.
According to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Vazquez’s expected Puerto Rican winter ball team folded, necessitating a trade to Mayaguez, which doesn’t have the same number of at-bats for him.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Dombrowski said at the GM meetings. “In winter ball, his team folded, so he got traded to a team that’s a long way away from his home that’s got an abundance of guys, so I don’t think he’s going to have very much playing time. The doctors feel he’ll be healthy come spring training, but I’m not sure how many at-bats he’s going to need to be ready at this point.”
Vazquez was going to DH this winter to at least build back his bat, with the plan for him to start throwing in Fort Myers. Without enough at-bats in Puerto Rico, however, he may need more swings in spring training to make up the lost ABs.
“That’s probably one of the more difficult calls for me, just because you don’t want to push him, you want him to be ready to start at the big league level and contribute what we need at this point,” Dombrowski said. “I figured we’d make that decision in spring training.”
Dombrowski hopes the setback is only minor.
“The doctors feel he’ll be fine,” he said. “He may start spring training a little slower, but I guess only time will tell on that. He’s doing very well. He’s going through his throwing program, but there is an uncertainty attached because it’s the unknown.”
The bigger question is how the Red Sox will handle three catchers, with Vazquez, Blake Swihart, and veteran Ryan Hanigan on the roster. Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen told the Hot Stove Show that the club wants depth at the position, especially considering that Vazquez and Hanigan were both lost in the span of a couple of months last season.