PawSox Catchers Have Diverse Roles

PawSox catchers

Before Ryan Hanigan fractured a knuckle and went on the disabled list, the Pawtucket Red Sox had four catchers, all of whom served the team in different manners.
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Now that Blake Swihart is out of the picture and up with the big league club it is a little different, but no two PawSox catchers are alike.pawsox catchers

Of course Swihart was the big-time prospect and the one fans knew most by name, but he was not the only one getting his work in for the PawSox.
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“All four of us do our catching stuff on a daily basis,” veteran catcher Matt Spring said before Swihart’s call-up. “You know, catching bullpen sessions and all that. Whenever my role changes back to that, I’ll be ready.”

The three catchers down in AAA right now are Matt Spring, Humberto Quintero and Luke Montz. Of the three, Quintero has the most big league experience and is the only one of the three that has caught a game this season.

On paper, Quintero is the first guy Boston would call up because he has so much big league experience. Montz on the other hand has a little bit of big league time and an injury prematurely ended his fight for a roster spot with the Oakland A’s last spring training. Now Montz is in a reserve role which consists of playing first base and left field.
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People might see 30-year-old Matt Spring as a career Minor League catcher, but as of late he has taken over the PawSox starting first base role. He has a hit in all but one of his ten games this year.

For the first time in his career, Spring has a chance to really make a name for himself as a regular contributor to the PawSox lineup.
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“I think that’s what all of us want to do,” Spring said. “Go out there and do whatever we can do to help and if it’s going out there and playing first base right now, I’ll fill that role whenever I can— whatever opportunity I have to get my name in the lineup.”

Red Sox Believe in Their Future At the Catcher Position

catcher position

Some people might have been puzzled when the Boston Red Sox decided to replace 28-year-old catcher Jerrod Saltalamacchia with 37-year-old A.J. Pierzynski. The signing of Pierzynski just shows that the Red Sox are confident in their young prospects at catcher.

The Red Sox held their annual rookie program during the week of January 14  and Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart, two of their highly touted catching prospects were in attendance.

The more experienced Vazquez had a good season in the minor in 2013. The 23-year-old from Puerto Rico has been named the best defensive catcher in the Red Sox system by Baseball America each of the past three seasons. In 2013, Vazquez led the Portland Sea Dogs with a .289 average and was the starting catcher for the Eastern League All-Stars.

Vazquez also threw out 47 percent of attempted base stealers with Double-A Portland last season before being promoted to the Pawtucket Red Sox last fall. Vazquez was invited to Fort Myers again this spring and he will have a chance to work with veteran catchers Pierzynski and David Ross.

Swihart, who was selected by the Red Sox with the 26th overall pick in the 2011 draft, has played three seasons in the Red Sox farm system. He represented the Salem Red Sox on the Carolina League mid-season All-Star team last season as he hit .298 with two home runs and 42 RBIs in 103 games. In the fall, Swihart was also named the 2013 Red Sox Minor League Defensive Player of the Year.

Swihart will also be in Fort Myers, Fla., as he was also chosen to participate in to spring training. This is excellent considering Swihart didn’t start playing the catcher position until his junior year of high school.

Ross and Pierzynski will both be free agents after the 2014 season. It is not farfetched to think that we may see Swihart or Vasquez play at Fenway Park in 2015. Keep your eye out on these two catches because the Red Sox organization surely has.