March 26, 2013

On Baseball: If Vazquez hits, future is unlimited

By Kevin Thomas
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

He looked so good in Arizona, the Red Sox feared he might get taken in the Rule 5 draft and so protected him by placing him on the 40-man roster.

Boston has a glut of catchers on the 40-man (Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ross, Lavarnway and Dan Butler), but it still made room for Vazquez.

"The kid has worked really hard and he's starting to reap the benefits," Epperson said. "He has his foot on the gas pedal. He understands that this is not the time to back off."

Making the 40-man roster is one thing. Sticking around is another. Portland has seen its share of catchers -- Dusty Brown, Mark Wagner and Luis Exposito among them -- who moved up to the 40-man roster, but were eventually released by the Red Sox.

For Vazquez, the key is hitting.

"Offensively, he has very good hands and he has a quick bat," said Joppie, the new Pawtucket hitting coach. "There are adjustments that have to be made, the typical things that players experience in Double-A -- strike zone management and plate discipline, having a consistent plan and learning how their swing works."

And if Vazquez's swing works consistently?

"I think he's a guy who can play in the major leagues for a very long time, just on his defensive abilities alone," Joppie said. "But if that bat comes around, he can and will be a frontline major league catcher."

Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

Twitter: ClearTheBases


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