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Christian Vazquez heeds Chili Davis’ advice, hits longest home run of life 05.02.16 at 1:19 am ET
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As Jackie Bradley Jr. said after witnessing the event from a few feet away, while waiting in the on-deck circle, “One pitch in, one pitch out.”

It seemed simple. And maybe that’s why Christian Vazquez was able to hit Dellin Betances’ 97 mph fastball onto Landsowne Street to propel the Red Sox to an 8-7 win over the Yankees on Sunday night. It was a ball the catcher proclaimed was the longest home run of his young life.

For Red Sox hitting instructor Chili Davis, it certainly didn’t seem complicated. And that’s why he offered Vazquez some important advice before the youngster went up to face Betances with two outs in the seventh inning and the game tied.

“Just trying to get him aggressive,” Davis said. “Just basically said, ‘Hey, I don’t think this guy is going to respect you. He’s going to come right at you early. Let it go. Let it fire.’ Just trying to get him aggressive early in the at-bat, which he was. He got the first-pitch heater and he jumped on it.”

Two nights before, Ortiz had launched a two-run homer over the left field wall on the first pitch he saw from Betances. But that came on a curveball. This one was the very pitch the reliever threw Sunday night, and wasn’t going to be the same approach with the light-hitting catcher up.

“He’s not going to fool around,” Davis said. “David knew curveball was coming because that’s how he’s pitches David. But for someone like Christian, or someone he doesn’t really know or hasn’t done what David has done, what is he going to do? He’s going to try and get ahead.”

Said Ortiz: “There’s not guessing in this game. Every time I try to guess, I guess wrong. You pick what you think you can hit. If you don’t hit breaking balls you don’t pick breaking balls. If you don’t hit fastballs you don’t pick fastballs. … Let me tell you, whenever you step up to the plate with a bat, you have a chance. That was a 98 mph fastball. That [expletive] ended up on the moon.”

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Read More: chili davis, christian vazquez, David Ortiz,
Carson Smith getting closer and closer to joining Red Sox 04.21.16 at 11:34 am ET
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Carson Smith

Carson Smith

The Red Sox could be getting reliever Carson Smith back soon.

Smith will pitch in an extended spring training game Thursday, the first live game action since suffering a flexor strain early in spring training. He will then throw in another extended spring game Saturday before likely joining an affiliate early next week.

Smith was originally scheduled to throw a simulated game Thursday, but because of how well he’s responded, the team adjusted his schedule to an extended spring game.

“He’s advancing pretty good,” manager John Farrell said.

In 2015 with the Mariners, Smith had a 2.31 ERA in 70 innings where he totaled 92 strikeouts.

In other news, Christian Vazquez will catch his second straight game Thursday — a day game after a night game. The team isn’t holding him back any as he returns from Tommy John surgery early in 2015.

“Just looking at some of the matchups coming up and feel like the combinations of pitching-catcher have seemed to work OK so far,” Farrell said when asked what went into the decision. “From a health and physical standpoint, Vazquez is good to go. Day game after a night game, which he accomplished while at Pawtucket, that’s today’s alignment.”

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt, Christian Vazquez return 04.20.16 at 3:14 pm ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

After being down the last three games, Brock Holt returns to the Red Sox lineup as they go up against right-hander Chris Archer in the second of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

Christian Vazquez, who sat Tuesday, will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello and other than that, it’s a standard lineup.

Travis Shaw will play third base and Hanley Ramirez will play first. The Red Sox will look to bounce back following Tuesday’s 3-0 loss — the first time they were shutout at home in 63 games.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 3B
Brock Holt, LF
Christian Vazquez, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Rick Porcello, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

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Closing Time: Rick Porcello, Christian Vazquez lead Red Sox over Blue Jays 04.15.16 at 10:13 pm ET
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Rick Porcello pitched very well Friday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello pitched very well Friday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Whether it was the presence of Christian Vazquez or not, it seems like the Red Sox are gaining some momentum.

For the second straight game, the Red Sox got a decent start from their starting pitcher as Friday it was Rick Porcello who went 6 1/3 innings to earn the win in the Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Blue Jays. It was the second straight win for the Red Sox.

Porcello finished the game going 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on two hits (both Edwin Encarnacion home runs), while walking one, hitting two and striking out eight.

The Red Sox scored early allowing Porcello to settle in with a lead. They scored three times in the first inning starting with a David Ortiz RBI double off the top of the wall in dead-center. After Hanley Ramirez reached via a passed ball on a strikeout, Travis Shaw drove in both Ortiz and Ramirez with a two-RBI double of his own.

They tacked on another run in the second inning on a Mookie Betts RBI single.

Porcello gave up his second home run of the game to Encarnacion in the seventh with a runner on. He struck out the next batter and then was lifted at 100 pitches.

Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel (save) in a shaky ninth closed the game out for the Red Sox in relief of Porcello.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox have now not been shutout at home in 60 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the majors. It dates back to June 4 of last year.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

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Read More: christian vazquez, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, rick porcello
Why Red Sox are adding outfield to Blake Swihart’s skill set at 5:21 pm ET
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Blake Swihart can now add the outfield to his list of positions. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Blake Swihart can now add the outfield to his list of positions. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox have two very good young catchers in Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. But, thinking towards the future, it’s impossible to have both players play every day behind the plate.

This is why on the day Swihart was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Vazquez’s recall, the Red Sox revealed their long-term plan with their two prized catchers.

“As we look towards the future, and even as time goes on, we would like Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart to both be part of our club,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “They are both not going to be every day catchers with our team. [Swihart] is more athletic. He’s a converted catcher. We think he could make a conversion to another position — even on a part-time basis so we can keep his bat in the lineup.”

Swihart will take fly balls in left field with Pawtucket as the Red Sox would like him to add outfield to his skill set. In addition to taking fly balls in the outfield, he will still play catcher as it was noted they are an injury away of having him come back to Boston as a catcher. It was also revealed between the outfield, catcher and DH, Swihart will play every day in Triple-A.

Vazquez is 25 years old, while Swihart is 24 so both are young and have plenty of room to grow.

This long-term plan didn’t come out of no where as these discussions began towards the end of spring training, with Swihart starting shagging fly balls in the outfield. Some thought Swihart would be better suited for first base, but manager John Farrell said the organization viewed the outfield being the most “viable.”

“His athleticism will take over,” Farrell said of Swihart playing the outfield. “He and I had a couple of conversations in spring training about this. He would shag in left field during BP. Confident that through repetition, much like we have talked about with him behind the plate, which is a much more difficult task then playing a major league caliber left field. That will take time. We’ve come to know Blake as not only an upfront guy, but is a smart athletic player who is going to be committed to the work.”

“Bottom line, we see both (Vazquez and Swihart) coexisting on this roster, really in the same lineup on a given day,” Farrell added. “We know [Swihart is] still going to be catching games.”

With the long-term plan in mind and the Red Sox showing commitment to both players, now is the perfect time to execute it with Vazquez 100 percent healthy, but any time a player changes positions it certainly bears watching.

Stay tuned.

Read More: blake swihart, christian vazquez, Dave Dombrowski, John Farrell
Christian Vazquez feeling ‘100 percent’ going into 2016 big league debut at 3:56 pm ET
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Christian Vazquez will make his 2016 major league debut Friday night. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Christian Vazquez will make his 2016 major league debut Friday night. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

It’s been a longtime coming for catcher Christian Vazquez.

The catcher missed the entire 2015 season because of Tommy John surgery at the end of the spring last year. Vazquez noted he was 100 percent to end the spring and could have started with the Red Sox, but the team opted to have him start the year in Triple-A Pawtucket.

He played in five games and hit .468 at the plate before being recalled prior to Friday’s game with the Blue Jays. Blake Swihart started the year with the big league team and had a few issues defensively and ultimately was sent back down to Triple-A as the corresponding move for Vazquez being recalled.

“I’m excited. I’m here for a reason to help the team,” Vazquez said prior to Friday’s game. “Like I said, the pitching staff. I’m happy to be back.”

The hope is Vazquez’s game-calling ability will help with a starting rotation that has an ERA of 6.86 entering Friday, the worst in the American League.

“I’m happy. I’m here to help the team win and my pitching staff here,” he said.

During his week with Pawtucket he was able to work on every part of his game and is excited to join the big league team for the first time since 2014. He also added his family will be at Fenway Park Friday night.

“I was doing everything — my at-bats, my arm strength is back,” he said. “Overall, I was working on everything.”

The Red Sox are wasting no time as he will start Friday night and catch starter Rick Porcello.

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Red Sox lineup: Christian Vazquez catches Rick Porcello at 3:22 pm ET
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Christian Vazquez

Christian Vazquez

The Red Sox are wasting no time getting catcher Christian Vazquez into the lineup.

After being recalled earlier in the day, Vazquez will get the start behind the plate catching Red Sox starter Rick Porcello. He was hitting .462 in five games with the PawSox.

Other than that, it’s a standard lineup with Travis Shaw at third base and Brock Holt in left field as the Red Sox go up against Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Travis Shaw, 3B
Brock Holt, LF
Christian Vazquez, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Rick Porcello, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

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Red Sox option C Blake Swihart to Triple-A Pawtucket, INF Marco Hernandez recalled at 3:14 pm ET
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Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

The Red Sox made a few moves prior to Friday’s game.

In addition to outfielder Rusney Castillo being optioned to Triple-A Pawticket after Wednesday’s game, catcher Blake Swihart has also been sent down. To take their places on the roster, catcher Christian Vazquez and infielder Marco Hernandez have been recalled.

Vazquez spent the first week of the minor league season with the PawSox working his way back from Tommy John surgery last season. The Red Sox would have had three catchers on their roster if they didn’t send Swihart down. Him being in Pawtucket will give him everyday playing time that he wouldn’t get with the Red Sox, which is the best thing for him at this point as he continues to develop as a catcher.

Swihart was 5-for-18 at the plate in six games this season. Vazquez will start behind the plate Friday night catching Rick Porcello.

Hernandez gives the Red Sox an utility infielder they didn’t have to start the season. He was the player to be named in the Felix Doubront trade with the Cubs in 2014.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Read More: blake swihart, christian vazquez, Marco Hernandez,
Alex Cora on Bradfo Show: ‘Defensively, [Blake Swihart’s] not ready, and they know it. Game-calling, he’s not ready’ at 10:58 am ET
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Alex Cora

Alex Cora

Former Red Sox infielder and current ESPN baseball analyst Alex Cora appeared on the Bradfo Show podcast on Thursday to discuss several early storylines this season. To hear the interview, check the WEEI audio on demand page.

With the Red Sox rotation struggling to find its way early in the season, many have looked to young catcher Christian Vazquez as a possible solution. He has been praised for his work defensively and is revered as a terrific game-caller behind the plate. He was called up after a rehab stint in Triple-A Pawtucket, and it appears he will get his chance to make an impact.

“I hope he gets a lot of games out there, and I’m not talking about catching one guy or two guys, I think he’s the guy that, he needs to catch four out of five days to get that rhythm, to get that confidence, and get that pitching staff going,” Cora said. “I feel that way. A lot of people probably don’t feel the same, but I really do.”

Added Cora: “He is that good. Blocking balls, taking charge, he’s a game-changer behind the plate, he is. I read a few people that say, ‘Yeah, [Blake] Swihart, he can hit, he can do this,’ and God bless him. He’s a great talent. He’s great. But defensively he’s not ready, and they know it. Game-calling, he’s not ready.”

Outfielder Rusney Castillo has yet to find his way as a major league hitter, despite his high price tag. Cora, who has trained Castillo in the offseason, said getting him reps at the plate is essential.

“The question mark is can he hit at the big league level,” Cora said. “But to keep him on the bench and not get in any at-bats and having [Chris] Young as your right-handed hitter against lefties, there’s not a platoon situation with him, and everybody wants to know if this guy can hit.”

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Read More: Alex Cora, christian vazquez, Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox
Monday Red Sox Farm Report: Christian Vazquez reaches in 9-of-12 plate appearances 04.11.16 at 4:19 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday.

Christian Vazquez

Christian Vazquez

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (2-2): L, 9-1 vs. Buffalo (Blue Jays)

— Catcher Christian Vazquez continued his hot start at the plate on his rehab assignment with the PawSox, going 3-for-4 Sunday with three sharply hit singles (two up the middle, one to the opposite field) and another hot shot that required a diving stop at first base. Including his three walks so far this year, Vazquez has now reached base in 9-of-12 plate appearances.

The 25-year-old Vazquez missed all of the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last April. Vazquez served as the DH on Sunday but caught games in Pawtucket both Friday and Saturday and, per reports, fielded and threw well.

“I’m feeling great,” Vazquez told the Providence Journal before Sunday’s game. “I don’t want to rush it. Day-by-day, it’s coming. … I’m close to 100 percent. I’m getting there.”

Vazquez saw time in the majors in 2014, throwing out 15-of-29 would-be base stealers while committing five errors in 54 games. The Red Sox have until April 28 to option Vazquez or bring him back to the big leagues.

— Other than Vazquez, who drove in the team’s lone run of the game in the first inning, the Pawtucket offense struggled with just seven total hits and one extra base-hit (a double from left fielder Allen Craig). Shortstop Marco Hernandez (Boston’s No. 13 prospect at MLB.com) went 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored, while first baseman Sam Travis (Boston’s No. 7 prospect at MLB.com) cooled off with an 0-for-4; Travis was also charged with an error in the field as he was unable to backhand a grounder to his right in the third inning.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, christian vazquez, luis alexander basabe, pat light
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