Christian Vazquez

Red Sox notes: Christian Vazquez to have another exam on elbow, uncertain for opening day

Mike Petraglia
March 26, 2015 - 8:53 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- No one needs to remind manager John Farrell just how important 24-year-old catcher Christian Vazquez is to the future plans of the Red Sox. After feeling discomfort in his right (throwing) elbow while throwing out a runner on March 13 against the Yankees, the Red Sox decided to shut him down and rebuild his strength. He did DH a week later against the Orioles but did not play in the field. Farrell said Thursday morning that program is continuing but added, there's no guarantee he'll be ready for the opener April 6 in Philadelphia. "He will continue to go through his throwing program," Farrell said. "He'll catch on the minor-league side likely [Friday]. He threw to bases the other day and was improved. He's not 100 percent to turn him loose in an 'A' game yet." Vazquez is batting just .176 in six games this spring. "The last game in which he played, he felt something when he threw out a runner in his elbow. We backed him down. When he began to throw again, there was a little bit of a guarded approach on his behalf, and it affected his throwing mechanics where he's starting to get sore in his tricep, so we altered his throwing program just to get back to his normal arm slot and natural way of throwing. We're building that back up right now." Farrell said if Vazquez comes through clean on another medical test of his elbow, then the chance exists he could throw to the bases to test it out on Friday. "That's to be determined. He's going to go through another exam [Friday] to determine that," Farrell said, adding that an MRI is a possibility. "We're not going to rule that out. That's a possibility for [Friday]. We'll determine that after further internal exam." Naturally, the question came up as to whether Vazquez would be ready for Opening Day against the Phillies. "Probably by the weekend we'll have a more clear read on just that," Farrell said. "We caught some guys back-to-back -- no more than five innings when we did have a guy behind the plate on consecutive days. I don't think it was workload-related. It was one throw that he felt it on. "He's improving. Anytime a player misses time, there's some level of concern because of the talents that they are, and a player's health is first and foremost. But there's still some steps to accomplish." In the meantime, Vazquez's backups will keep getting more work. Humberto Quintero was a late replacement for Ryan Hanigan on Thursday. Blake Swihart will catch Friday in Orlando against the Braves while Hanigan gets the call Saturday against his former Tampa Bay teammates in Port Charlotte. Here are some other takeaways from Thursday morning with Farrell: On the return of David Ortiz and Mike Napoli, both of whom have been out for over a week: "Both in the lineup. We anticipated that today was likely the day they'd return to the lineup. It's good to have, if not all of our regulars, in the lineup today." Ortiz (.267/1 HR/5 RBIs in six games) has been out since March 16 with general soreness and dehydration while Napoli (.381/2/3 in nine games) has been out since March 18 with a sore ankle. "He's run the bases the last couple of days," Farrell said of Ortiz. "He's been obviously taking BP here. He feels good, ready to go." On the status of closer Koji Uehara, out since March 14 with a hamstring injury: "Nothing new. We're hopeful he'll get onto some flat-ground work today with a bullpen hopefully in the coming days, by the weekend. By the end of this weekend, we'll have a lot of valuable information regarding a couple of situations with the guys in camp, particularly some injury situations." On the big boost Alexi Ogando has given the bullpen: "I don'€™t see any difference in his attack method or approach. It'€™s been health related in the past. Right now, he'€™s answered the health question to date. And as we do with all of our pitchers and relievers, we monitor their frequency of use. He'€™s been very good." Farrell was also asked about the continuing whirlwind around his outfield, including the status of Shane Victorino, who Farrell has declared his starting right fielder if healthy. "It's just trying to get our arms around the durability and endurance, the number of reps on a consecutive basis. We'll have more information, but to say by next Friday he'll play 'X' number of games per week, I can't today sit here and tell you that." Farrell also came to the defense of Victorino, agreeing with the outfielder that the speculation regarding his comments about wanting Cole Hamels were taken completely out of context. "I'm familiar with the story. It's really, in my mind, not a story. There are going to be things that are said outside of our camp that really have no bearing on the work that we're getting accomplished here and the things we have to do to make the necessary decisions and be prepared for Opening Day. That's my view of it. There's no issues between he or Mookie or Shane or anybody on our team." On Xander Bogaerts working with hitting coach Chili Davis on settling down more in the batter's box: "€œHe'€™s still working on it. he was still jumpy the other day over in Jupiter. He'€™s working at it right now with Chili."