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Red Sox option Dan Butler, Alex Wilson to Triple-A Pawtucket

03.16.13 at 9:49 am ET
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After Friday night’s game against the Twins — which concluded the Red Sox’ last split-squad day of the spring — the Sox optioned catch Dan Butler and right-hander Alex Wilson to Triple-A Pawtucket. Both players impressed as depth options who have a chance to impact the Sox’ big league team this year.

Butler, who was added to the 40-man roster this winter to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, was 3-for-10 with a double and walk in eight Grapefruit League games this spring. Still, his defensive abilities and work behind the plate stood out, offering evidence of a catcher who can competently handle a big league pitching staff.

“To me, Danny Butler, he’s been impressive as far as his game-calling,” manager John Farrell said earlier in the week. “I know it’s short glimpses, it’s four innings at a time but you can see his ability to read swings, to finish hitters off certain ways based on what that hitter’s telling him against a given pitcher at  that moment. But his awareness behind the plate and his ability to read swings has been very good.”

Wilson, meanwhile, impressed in games even though he had yet to work his way into his normal mid-90s fastball velocity. While working at mostly 91-93 mph this spring, the 2009 second-rounder — who, like Butler, was added to the 40-man roster this winter — allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings (1.17 ERA) while walking two and striking out nine. On a team that had less big league bullpen depth, he might have been a consideration for the Opening Day roster. But, with the Sox featuring considerable depth in their relief corps even with the injuries to left-handers Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales, Wilson instead returns to Triple-A Pawtucket where he spent all of last year while making the transition from the rotation to the bullpen.

Both Butler and Wilson contribute to areas of big league depth for the Red Sox, potentially permitting the team to explore trades of either catchers or relievers this spring. Butler is one of five catchers on the Sox’ 40-man roster — along with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ross, Ryan Lavarnway and Christian Vazquez.

Meanwhile, Wilson’s presence on the 40-man roster — behind fellow righties Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves and Clayton Mortensen — already permitted the Sox to deal from surplus in sending Mark Melancon to Pittsburgh this offseason. As a reliever whose power arsenal profiles for the late innings, he adds to the freedom that the Sox might have in striking a deal with teams in search of relievers this spring.

With the moves, the Sox now have 46 players in big league camp.

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