Red Sox Take Protective Measure With Vazquez





BOSTON—They weren't numbers that screamed of a player who would be added to the 40-man roster.

Christian Vazquez, coming off a strong 2011 season in low Class A Greenville (his second in the South Atlantic League), hit .254/.344/.369 in 2012 spent mostly in high Class A Salem before an August promotion to Double-A Portland. Nonetheless, the Red Sox viewed his addition to the 40-man as a decision that required little debate.

Despite his modest offensive totals, Vazquez enjoyed a dominant offensive stretch. Playing in his age-21 season, he recovered from a brutal first half (.223/.308/.293) to hit .343/.448/.581 with five homers and 10 doubles in his first 29 games of the second half in the Carolina League to force his way to Portland.

And despite hitting .205 with a .541 OPS in Double-A, he had quality at-bats in his first exposure to the upper levels, with eight walks and nine punchouts.

Perhaps more important, the 5-foot-9 Vazquez was arguably the top defensive catcher in the system. Lefthander Rich Hill, for instance, raved about Vazquez's defensive skills after stopping in Salem on a rehab assignment. He complemented strong work with pitchers with strong technical skills, partially evident in his 40 percent caught-stealing rate.

The Red Sox viewed Vazquez as having too interesting a ceiling not to protect. One American League scout suggested that Vazquez profiles as at least a glove-first big league backup catcher, but acknowledged that the 2008 ninth-round selection out of Puerto Rico has a chance to become more than that.

"The defense will carry him, and how much he hits will dictate how much he plays. But the defense should allow him to at least be a quality backup. If the offense comes, he'll be better than that," the scout said.  

SOX YARNS

• The Sox raided the Angels, hiring longtime minor league manager and scout Tom Kotchman to serve as a North Florida area scout and Rookie-level Gulf Coast League coach. They also added Gary DiSarcina from the Angels' front office to manage Triple-A Pawtucket.

• Boston acquired righthander Graham Godfrey, who is 1-6, 5.09 in 10 big league games, from the Athletics in exchange for righthander Sandy Rosario.