John Farrell all but rules out Christian Vazquez for start of season after 'findings' in right elbow

Mike Petraglia
March 28, 2015 - 8:48 am
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- John Farrell confirmed the concerning news regarding the right elbow of star young catcher Christian Vazquez before Saturday's game against the Rays. "There's some findings in the MRI," Farrell announced of the test on Vazquez's arm on Friday. "To what extent, that's not being determined right now. There's likely going to be a second opinion. So, we're still in a little bit of a fact-finding mode right now. What that means going forward is ... there's no clear-cut plan going forward yet. Hopefully, through the coming days, we would have some more definitive information and then a follow-up plan after that." What was not as clear from Farrell was whether that information suggested actual ligament damage in the elbow. "I was not told specifically what was going on there," Farrell said. "If, in fact, it involves [ligament damage], to what extent, if it is involved, we just know that there have been some findings in the MRI. I think before we get too far ahead of ourselves, that's why a second opinion will be had and information compared. But clearly the MRI suggests that more information has got to be had. "Whether or not there is a contrast MRI performed, where there is a dye injected, I don't know if that was done [Friday] or if it will be done going forward. We're still gathering as much information as we can." Vazquez had the MRI after catching Joe Kelly for three innings Friday in an intersquad game and going 1-for-2 in three plate appearances. "He kind of plateaued," said Farrell. "You would think that after 11, 12 days, if it was just some abnormal soreness, you'd think at some point you'd get over that. That's why, when he kind of plateaued, even when the volume and the intensity was picking up, we said, 'let's check it out' and that's where we are right now. "He was making progress and the soreness and stiffness was getting out of there and was throwing," Farrell said. "But then the MRI suggests we have to keep finding more information." With all the questions still remaining, there's one that was all but answered. Vazquez is certain to not start the season on the active roster. "At this point, unlikely, yeah," Farrell said. "It's hard to see him being available Opening Day." The second opinion that Vazquez spoke of Saturday morning in Fort Myers was also confirmed by Farrell. "We just had a meeting on the MRI results this morning and had a chance to meet with Christian and discuss what's involved here. Where he and his agent will speak to and look to get a second opinion, I don't know yet." As for Vazquez's outlook, Farrell was encouraged by the maturity shown by the 24-year-old. "Surprisingly, he took it all in stride," Farrell said. "He goes, 'OK.' The thing is that he's felt better over the days following the last game he played on the 13th. The throwing program was progressing. He threw to bases [on Thursday] and kind of felt like everything was moving in the right direction. And because of the progress being made, that's where we felt like if an MRI was warranted we'll do it at an appropriate time."