Leon may stay with Sox when Hanigan returns

Leon may stay with Sox when Hanigan returns

ARLINGTON -- Backup catcher Sandy Leon has played so well that he might remain on the Red Sox's roster even after Ryan Hanigan is ready to come off the disabled list.

Leon, who worked an 11-pitch double to key a ninth-inning comeback in Friday's win over the Rangers, is out of Minor League options.

Christian Vazquez, currently Boston's starting catcher, has options. In his comeback from Tommy John Surgery, Vazquez has struggled at the plate.

"I don't know that we have a definitive outlook on it," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "[Sandy is] doing an excellent job. We've always viewed it as a two-man position. How that breaks up remains to be seen once Hanny is good to go. We've got to get through multiple nine-inning games consecutively with Hanny before he comes back. We've got some time to get to that point."

Hanigan went on the DL on June 5 with a mild neck strain, at which time the Red Sox purchased Leon's contract from Triple-A Pawtucket. The earliest Hanigan will be ready to be activated is on Friday. He will play nine innings on back-to-back days for Pawtucket on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Red Sox were pleased with Leon's defense during his time with the club last year. However, his offense has taken a big step forward of late, albeit in a limited sample size.

Leon, who will catch Clay Buchholz on Sunday, is 12-for-22 with four doubles.

"All things being equal, the offense certainly weighs into it," said Farrell. "At the same time, because of the attrition rate at the position, we have to be careful from an organizational depth standpoint. You're always, as I said the last couple of times, you're a foul tip away from needing the next guy."

Worth noting

• Bobby Dalbec, who was selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft as a third baseman, pitched Arizona to the College World Series championship round on Saturday. The right-hander limited Oklahoma State to one run over seven innings. The Red Sox have stated definitively that Dalbec, who is known for his power, will be a position player once he signs with the organization.

Brock Holt could be in the final stages of his Minor League rehab assignment. The left-handed hitter started in left field for Pawtucket on Saturday and will do so again on Sunday. He is scheduled to rest on Monday and then may be activated by the Red Sox, who currently have three left fielders on the DL. Holt has been sidelined since May 19 due to a concussion.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.