Vazquez's dream of reaching Majors comes true
Red Sox's No. 10 prospect will split time behind home plate with Ross
BOSTON -- The cannon arm of Christian Vazquez is now on full display for the Red Sox, as the catcher made his Major League debut on Wednesday night at Fenway Park against the White Sox.
"I was nervous a little bit, but I trust myself," Vazquez said after Boston's 5-4 win. "But I'm more proud and I feel great."
Vazquez went 0-for-3 in his first action with the Red Sox. His best piece of hitting came in the fifth, when he drilled a hard line drive right at White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
Manager John Farrell said he thought the rookie caught a great nine innings. Chicago didn't attempt to steal at any point in the game, but Vazquez showed off that arm in the fourth when he gunned down Dayan Viciedo, who tried to take second after an RBI single.
"I thought Christian Vazquez did an excellent job running the game tonight," Farrell said. "A number of pitches at the bottom of the strike zone that he framed exceptionally well, and [he] did a very good job overall."
For the past two Spring Trainings, Vazquez created excitement with his quick release and ability to nail potential basestealers.
Playing at the highest level, Vazquez, who is the Red Sox's No. 10 prospect, will get a chance to continue to make strides offensively while learning how to handle a Major League pitching staff.
At least at the outset, the 23-year-old Vazquez will split playing time with veteran David Ross.
In Wednesday's start against the White Sox, Vazquez wore No. 55 and batted ninth. Vazquez caught Rubby De La Rosa, the righty he worked with at Triple-A Pawtucket often.
"It helped me a lot. A lot of experience with him and I'm confident with him," Vazquez said. "It's a lot different and they have a lot of power and know what they're doing. It's tough, but we made it."
Although nervous, Vazquez was simply excited to be in Boston. As he spoke to reporters in the clubhouse before Wednesday's game, Vazquez had a hard time taking the smile off his face.
"It's my dream to be here, to play in the big leagues now," said Vazquez. "I'm very happy."
To clear the way for the arrival of Vazquez, veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski was designated for assignment.
It was expected Vazquez would surface in Boston at some point this season, but the timetable was pushed forward a bit, due in large part to the Red Sox entering Wednesday's action with a 39-51 record.
"Of course, yeah. I had hopes," Vazquez said. "It's quick. I'm very happy."
Ross, as good a catching mentor as there is in the game, was enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with Vazquez.
"He's a great young prospect," said Ross. "I love his attitude. He's got a cannon for an arm. You don't see a kid that can really throw like that [very often]. I'm anxious to be part of the catching corps with him. He's got the mentality, talking to him in Spring Training, that he cares a lot, he wants to help the pitchers, he's not just about hitting, he's not just about catching, he's about both, and I think he's going to be a bright spot for us."
Vazquez hit .279 (68-for-244) with 17 doubles, three home runs, 20 RBIs, 35 runs and 21 walks in 66 games this season with Triple-A Pawtucket, where he ranks second on the team in hits, doubles and total bases.
Upon his arrival to Boston, Vazquez was fresh off a seven-game hitting streak. In his last 105 at-bats for Pawtucket, Vazquez hit .314.
"We think Vazquez has gotten to the point where he can help us defensively and his at-bats over the last six weeks or so have been more consistent and he's shown a good approach, so we think he can help us behind the plate," said general manager Ben Cherington. "This also is a bit of investment in him and opportunity for us to find out a little bit more about him as we start looking forward."