By JASON MASTRODONATO
FORT MYERS, Florida â€” Christian Vazquez finally got some rest.
The Red Sox catcher has often enjoyed playing winter ball in his native Puerto Rico during the offseason, but after he enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2017, Vazquez took a break.
The 27-year-old catcher is now back in camp preparing for his fourth big league season after spending his offseason mostly relaxing.
â€śI was bored in my house,â€ť he joked. â€śI was fishing with my wife. Iâ€™m engaged now and going to get married. Iâ€™ve got a new house in Miami, so Iâ€™ve done a lot of work in the house.â€ť
The Red Sox will hope he continues to build on what was once again becoming an elite throwing arm late last season.
Known for his cannon before Tommy John surgery in 2015, Vazquez was not yet back to full strength in 2016 and only late in 2017 did the club see his arm return to pre-surgery level on a consistent basis.
This spring, â€śitâ€™s better,â€ť Vazquez said.
After hitting .290 last year, including .314 in the second half, Vazquez is hoping to prove himself as an every-day catcher, having spent the past two seasons in a part-time role.
â€śIâ€™d love to play every day,â€ť he said. â€śIâ€™d love to play 120 games, and I can do it.
â€śI think for me, if I play more, I get better, consistent hitting. Iâ€™m going to see more pitches and going to see more breaking balls. I learn more.â€ť
Vazquez said heâ€™s yet to talk to new manager Alex Cora about how heâ€™ll share time with Sandy Leon, but heâ€™s confident in Coraâ€™s ability to manage.
â€śHeâ€™s good, has good communication with the players, and thatâ€™s a big thing for us,â€ť Vazquez said. â€śWe need that and right now we feel great with him.â€ť
Catcher pitches in
Vazquez was one of the members of the organization who was on the flight carrying supplies to Puerto Rico on January 30.
â€śYeah itâ€™s very special for me and my family,â€ť he said. â€śWe went to Caguas and it was a lot of smiles on the faces of the people. That means a lot for us.â€ť
Some of the country is still without power stemming from Hurricane Maria back in September. The Red Sox have tried to do their part. They not only brought supplies but also donated $200,000 to Caguas mayor Miranda Marin.
â€śItâ€™s been tough,â€ť Vazquez said. â€śBut itâ€™s getting better. My family got power [Sunday] after going 160 days without power. Itâ€™s tough but you have to continue to have faith.â€ť
And weâ€™re off!
Today marks the reporting date for pitchers and catchers to be in Fort Myers while tomorrow will be the first day of official workouts.
The entire starting rotation has already arrived.
Vazquez had a few early observations after watching Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello throw.
For Porcello, Vazquez said â€śit was a tough year last year but I know this year heâ€™s going to get better and consistent and I think heâ€™s working hard. I saw him pitching in the bullpen. He looked good.
â€śI think with Price he needs to be healthy. Thatâ€™s it. Thatâ€™s the goal for him. A healthy Price is a different story.â€ť
As for Sale?
â€śHe needs to do the same thing,â€ť Vazquez said. â€śHe dominated last year with more than 300 strikeouts and a finalist for the Cy Young Award so I think he doesnâ€™t need to change anything.â€ť
Promote from within
In addition to news that Linda Pizzuti Henry is now a limited partner in Fenway Sports Group, the holding company that owns the Red Sox, the team announced four other promotions.
Long-time executive Jonathan Gilula is now the executive vice president and chief operating officer, Red Sox and FSG Real Estate.
David Beestonâ€™s new title is executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Red Sox, Fenway Sports Management and FSG Real Estate.
Zineb Curran is now VP, corporate communications and Kevin Gregg is vice president, media relations.
Cora will meet with reporters this morning for the first time this spring. â€¦ While the Red Sox continue to negotiate with J.D. Martinezâ€™s agent Scott Boras, Boras met with Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick within the last week, Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday. Martinez hit 29 of his 45 homers in 62 games with Arizona last year.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.