Vazquez expected to be set for Spring Training

Catcher preparing to take at-bats in Instructional League

Vazquez expected to be set for Spring Training

BALTIMORE -- Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez will take at-bats in the Instructional League, starting later this week, and should be fully healthy for the start of Spring Training.

Vazquez suffered a torn UCL in his right elbow in Spring Training this season, necessitating Tommy John surgery and knocking him out for all of 2015.

Although Vazquez won't catch in the Instructional League, he will continue to ramp up his throwing program.

"I think he was out to 120 feet," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "Once Instructional League ends, his throwing program will end, and he'll have a normal offseason for his arm to get strong. In the meantime, he'll continue his isolating catching drills he can do without throwing. He's going to continue DHing and collect at-bats that way. And we're expecting him fully ready for Spring Training next year."

The Red Sox should have a strong competition at the catching position next season. Rookie Blake Swihart has come on strong at the plate in recent weeks, and backup Ryan Hanigan has been a dependable defender.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.