Red Sox could see battle for catcher at camp

Swihart front-runner for now, but healthy Vazquez could reclaim job

Red Sox could see battle for catcher at camp

A healthy Christian Vazquez could create an element the Red Sox don't have much of otherwise this spring -- a true position battle.

Blake Swihart got an early promotion to the Major Leagues last season due to injuries to Vazquez and backup catcher Ryan Hanigan. And by the second half, Swihart was playing with confidence on both sides of the ball.

Comeback candidates | Newcomers | Prospects to watch

At this point, Swihart is the front-runner to catch on Opening Day, but Vazquez will do what he can to reclaim a job that was his before he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery last April.

"All the indications from the doctors are that it should be fine," said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "But right now it's only speculation until he gets down there and does it on a day-in, day-out basis."

The Red Sox will evaluate the situation daily and weekly. Vazquez still has Minor League options, so it's at least possible he could start the season at Triple-A to regain his feel for the game.

If Vazquez does make the team, the Red Sox would have to move capable veteran Hanigan, who has one year left on his contract.

The catching situation is just one subplot to keep an eye on. There will also be plenty of attention paid to Hanley Ramirez's move to first base.

Outlook: Ramirez, OF, BOS

This will be the last Spring Training for star slugger David Ortiz, who is retiring at the end of the season.

The two star newcomers -- ace David Price and closer Craig Kimbrel -- will be focal points throughout the spring.

And not to be forgotten is that manager John Farrell is making a comeback after missing the final six weeks of 2015 due to lymphoma.

"Compared to every other offseason, this one's been a little bit different," said Farrell. "Now the focus and attention goes to getting on the field, putting the team together and having the team go out and play to our expectations. We've got some ground to make up after the last couple of years. This is a team that's got to go out and execute, but I'm excited about what the potential capabilities are."

Pitchers and catchers report
Feb. 18

Full squad reports
Feb. 23

First Spring Training game
Home vs. Twins, March 2, 1:05 p.m. ET

Opening Day
Away vs. Indians, April 4, 4:10 p.m. ET

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.