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Sox catching depth on the upswing?

07.06.10 at 3:39 pm ET
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Red Sox minor leaguer Mark Wagner, who had been out since April after suffering a broken left hamate that required surgery, was reinstated to the Triple-A PawSox following a brief rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League. Wagner was part of the decimated Red Sox catching corps, as all four of the team’s top catchers entering the year (Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek, Mark Wagner and Dusty Brown) were sidelined by injuries at the same time, forcing the Sox to call up Gustavo Molina and trade for Kevin Cash when Varitek and Martinez went down last week.

Wagner said by phone last week that he had resigned himself to the fact that this would be a year when he would have to try to gut it out and play through pain while dealing with the aftermath of his surgery.

“It’s frustrating. I just haven’t seen the progress I’ve wanted in terms of getting back to playing,” Wagner said on Friday. “We’re leaning towards believing that this is an as-good-as-it-gets type of thing unless we give it complete rest.”

Apparently, the wrist did not regress during his rehab in the GCL, and so Wagner will rejoin the PawSox to get a better gauge for his progress. Depending on how quickly he can return to game speed, it is not inconceivable that he could have a shot at the majors before Varitek returns in the second half.

At the same time, there is a real possibility that the hamate cost Wagner (whom Sox sources say they would have been comfortable calling up when either Martinez or Varitek — and certainly when both — went down) his most meaningful opportunity for a regular big league role this year. Even so, Wagner last week suggested that he had been trying not to consider the idea that he had missed an opportunity, insofar as he did not want to be viewed as consumed by Schadenfreude.

“A lot of my friends, family, sportswriters have been calling me and bombarding me with that. I don’t ever look at it as a situation where I’m waiting for someone to get hurt,” said Wagner. “It’s one of those things where if I got a shot it would be great, but it would be much better to watch [Varitek and Martinez] play and learn. But if there’s any shot I can get up there, Lord knows, I would love it, and hopefully I could get up there and help the team win.”

Wagner went 3-for-5 with five walks in his three-game GCL rehab stint.

For more on the Red Sox catching depth, click here.

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