MLB Player News
Christian Vazquez (elbow) has been throwing to bases at Boston's spring-training facility in Fort Myers (Fla.), the Boston Globe reports. "He's probably at about 90 percent," manager John Farrell said. "But it's there. You can see that. He'll only get better."
Prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery, Vazquez was known for his arm strength and his ability to control the running game. As such, the Boston Red Sox are closely monitoring his velocity and accuracy. On Friday, Vazquez showed off the accuracy in what was another productive day in his return from the injury. Despite what has been an encouraging rehab, Vazquez is expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket where he can get some game experience before joining the major-league roster.
Tony Wolters was designated for assignment Friday to make room for Tommy Hunter, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.
Wolters will have to clear waivers to remain with the Cleveland Indians , so he could end up on another team's 40-man as organizational catching depth. The 23-year-old had a .570 OPS in Double-A last season, so he's not exactly major-league ready.
Jackson Williams signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies on Thursday that includes an invitation to spring training.
Williams spent most of 2015 in Double-A in the Giants organization, but he did get a short taste of the majors in September. Despite this, it'll be tough to crack the 25-man roster out of spring training with Nick Hundley, Tom Murphy, and Dustin Garneau in the way.
Dom Nunez received an invitation to spring training Thursday.
Nunez caught at Low-A Asheville last season, posting an .821 OPS thanks to 13 home runs. The invitation is nice, but he'll likely head back down to the minors after spring training concludes to develop more.
Ryan Casteel received an invitation to spring training Thursday.
Casteel was fairly successful at the Triple-A level last season, hitting .292 despite striking out nearly 25 percent of the time. He could be knocking on the door of the majors soon, but he may have to wait with the catcher pecking order in the majors pretty well set already.
Blake Swihart will be the Opening Day catcher when Boston opens the 2016 season in Cleveland, MLB.com reports.
Ryan Hanigan will be the backup while Christian Vazquez, coming off Tommy John surgery, is ticketed to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket. That's the plan as it stands now, just prior to spring training. Swihart was called up to the majors last season, slightly ahead of schedule, and proved himself a competent hitter. There's still parts of the job defensively he needs to work on -- blocking balls is the primary area -- but the Boston Red Sox feel he'll learn that skill with experience and practice. Long term, with two young catchers capable of playing everyday in the majors, the Red Sox can either trade one of them or move Swihart to a new position.
Kevin Plawecki had sinus surgery in December, opening up his blocked right sinus, which doctors believe was the cause of the dizzy spells that plagued the catcher in the past, the NY Daily News reports.
Plawecki is already at the New York Mets ' spring complex to prepare for his role as the team's backup catcher and possibly a small role at first base. If Travis d'Arnaud is sidelined again this season, then Plawecki will step in as the Mets' starting backstop.
Jason Castro lost his arbitration hearing and will be paid $5 million in 2016, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports.
Castro was seeking $5.25 million, so he probably won't be too upset. With Hank Conger traded during the offseason, Castro could see a bump from last year's 104 games, though he'll need to do a bit more with the bat this time around. Even if he struggles, Castro's glove and pitcher management should give him a long leash.
Chance Sisco has received an invitation to Baltimore's spring training, Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun reports.
Sisco will likely begin the 2016 season in Double-A Bowie but has a chance to be a mid-season addition for the Baltimore Orioles . Despite other teams' interest in Sisco's hitting ability at the trade deadline, he remained in Baltimore and has a chance to display his talents during spring training. Even though Sisco hasn't shown the ability to hit for power, he is regarded as one of the best hitting catchers in the minors.
Sebastian Valle received an invitation to spring training Friday, Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal reports.
Valle spent 2015 with the Pirates' Double-A affiliate, where he put up a decent .754 OPS. However, the New York Yankees catching situation is pretty well set, so he'll likely head back to the minors after spring training is over.