Christian Vazquez

Red Sox pregame notes: Christian Vazquez on track to be ready by Opening Day, Dustin Pedroia update

Rob Bradford
August 24, 2015 - 4:12 pm
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CHICAGO -- The Red Sox have received another piece of good news for 2016: they're cautiously optimistic catcher Christian Vazquez will be ready for Opening Day. Sidelined since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April, Vazquez is expected to get some at-bats in Instructional League as he takes the next step in his recovery. "Obviously he's a very important piece to the puzzle moving forward," said interim manager Torey Lovullo. "What we're really concerned about right now is how he's progressing. He's going to take some at-bats in Instructional League, get into a little bit of a throwing program and then have some downtime that's very typical of an offseason and than be ready for the year next year and that's what we're really excited about." While it's possible that Vazquez will play winter ball, Lovullo said the plan would be for him just to hit. His repaired elbow isn't yet ready to cut loose and throw. As for the idea of Vazquez being ready for the opener, however, Lovullo embraced it. "I think he will," he said. "If there's one guy we can bet on, it's Christian. He's really excited and eager to get things moving." In other pregame notes . . . -- Lovullo plans on Pablo Sandoval continuing to hit second behind Mookie Betts, hoping it will get him more fastballs in hitter's counts. "I don't really like to move guys around, and he's getting comfortable there," Lovullo said. -- Lovullo expects to stay away from closer Junichi Tazawa "for sure" after he threw 30 pitches and took the loss in Kansas City's four-run ninth on Sunday. -- Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, sidelined since July 23 with a recurrence of a hamstring injury that had already kept him out for three weeks, is ramping up baseball activities, with Sept. 10 a soft target date for his return.

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