Wednesday March 30, 2011 | 09:39 AM

When the Red Sox kept looking for another catcher in the off-season, it did not bode well for Mark Wagner.

Wagner, 26, who caught for the Sea Dogs in 2008 and part of '09, has been on the 40-man roster for two years and had not seen any major league time. It became apparent that the Red Sox were not comfortable having Wagner has their No. 3 catcher, the first one to be called up if Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Jason Varitek were injured.

But if Wagner was not going to be called up this year, what was his future with the Red Sox?

Part of that question was answered late Tuesday when the Red Sox acquired catcher Michael McKenry from the Colorado Rockies. McKenry, 26, played for the Rockies Triple-A team last year, batting .265. He played six games for Colorado late in the season.

Boston traded pitcher Daniel Turpen to Colorado. Turpen, 24, had been bouncing around lately. Boston acquired him from San Francisco in a trade for Ramon Ramirez. Turpen pitched briefly for the Sea Dogs last year. He then was drafted by the Yankees in the Rule V draft.

The Yankees recently returned Turpen to Boston, only to have him shipped to the Rockies.

To make room for McKenry on the 40-man roster, Wagner was designated for assignment. That means he was taken off the 40-man roster. Another team could claim him. If that does not happen, and the Red Sox still want Wagner, he could return to the organization on a minor league contract.

Wagner was promoted to Pawtucket midway through the 2009 season after batting .309 for the Sea Dogs. He ht only .214 for the PawSox over 43 games.

In 2010, Wagner played only 36 games in Pawtucket (batting .205) because of a broken bone in his hand.

Once considered the top catcher in the Red Sox system, Wagner may have slipped behind three other prospects - Luis Exposito, who caught in Portland last year and is expected to share duties with McKenry in Pawtucket, and Sea Dogs catchers Ryan Lavarnway and Tim Federowicz.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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