Vazquez cleared to catch first spring game

Rodriguez still rehabbing knee; Elias to start Tuesday vs. Orioles

Vazquez cleared to catch first spring game

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Catcher Christian Vazquez has been cleared to play in his first Grapefruit League game on Tuesday, when the Red Sox travel to Sarasota, Fla., to play the Orioles.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, the Red Sox have taken a conservative approach with Vazquez during Spring Training. The catcher played in a simulated game on Saturday.

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Vazquez's first game will probably only consist of two to three innings.

"It will be shorter exposure," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He'll likely handle [Roenis] Elias, who will start that day. But he came out of yesterday feeling good about himself and the four throws he made to second base."

No determination has been made if Vazquez will be on Boston's Opening Day roster.

"We're taking small steps here," Farrell said. "The next progressive one is to get in a game on Tuesday."

Vazquez has worked hard to get to this point.

"All the credit goes to him," Farrell said. "Certainly the people who have rehabbed him, repaired the ligament. But the work he's put in, the diligence he's paid to the throwing program, all the rehab, the way he's conditioned and reshaped his body -- kudos to Christian and all the work he's put in."

Worth noting
• More than a week after suffering a patella subluxation in his right knee, Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez still hasn't been given clearance to throw off the mound. Rodriguez will be permitted to throw as soon as the swelling in his knee has subsided. In the meantime, he continues to try to keep his arm in shape as best he can.

"The intensity continues to pick up a bit, in terms of how he's throwing the baseball," said Farrell. "But there is still some swelling in the knee that we're working on to get out of there. That's the last step here before we get him on the mound, to remove all that fluid. From my understanding, that's normal. We don't know how long it will take to have that removed to get him the full range of motion and get him clearance to get back on the mound."

• Lefty Elias, acquired along with reliever Carson Smith in the December trade with Seattle for Wade Miley, will start Tuesday's game against the Orioles. Elias was slowed by a right ankle injury, but is over that now.

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