Sometime in the next couple weeks, the Red Sox expect to trade one of their three catchers – Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon or Blake Swihart. The light-hitting Vazquez seems to have a strong chance to stick around, though, as manager Alex Cora lavished praise on him Saturday (via Alex Speier of the Boston Globe). Cora acknowledged the Red Sox were frustrated at times with Vazquez in 2018, the first season of a three-year contract extension, but the backstop regained the manager’s confidence during their run to the World Series last fall. “The confidence he gained in October is going to have a huge impact of who he is this year,” Cora told Speier. “You can see it.” And longtime organization members have informed Cora that the 28-year-old Vazquez is now amid “probably his best camp, big leagues or minor leagues. He’s in-tune with everything. He’s engaged in every drill.”
Here’s more from the American League…
- Angels outfield prospect Jo Adell suffered a left hamstring strain and a right ankle sprain on the base paths Saturday, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times was among those to report. Adell was on crutches after the game and will undergo an MRI on Sunday, general manager Billy Eppler announced. It’s unclear exactly how much time Adell will miss, but it’s expected he’ll sit out for at least “several weeks,” DiGiovanna writes. Considering Adell’s likely to begin at the Double-A level this year, his status won’t affect the big league club’s season-opening plans. Still, it’s a less-than-ideal development for the Angels and Adell, the crown jewel of their farm system and one of the game’s elite prospects.
- The Indians’ top prospect is also heading to the shelf, as the team announced Saturday that it has shut right-hander Triston McKenzie down indefinitely on account of an upper back strain. As Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com notes, it’s now possible McKenzie will miss the start of the minor league season for the second straight campaign, having sat out until June 7 of last year after suffering a strained forearm in spring training. McKenzie, 21, thrived upon his return, though, with 90 2/3 innings of 2.68 ERA/3.62 FIP ball and 8.64 K/9 against 2.78 BB/9 in his first taste of Double-A action.
- The Orioles, at the expense of international bonus pool space, have added outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. and right-handers Xavier Moore and David Lebron in three separate trades since Feb. 24. It’s a smart approach to improve organizational depth, observes MLB.com’s Joe Trezza, who points out the Orioles weren’t going to spend the money they gave up in those deals. With that in mind, rookie general manager Mike Elias essentially acquired Smith, Moore and Lebron for nothing, Trezza points out. Plus, even after making those trades, Baltimore still easily leads the majors in international cash – which should continue to give the franchise a clear advantage in the chase for Cuban shortstop Yolbert Sanchez.