Only Dombrowski Can Stop Vasquez
Back in the days of yore there was a saying – The only man who could hold Michel Jordan under 20 points a game is Dean Smith. After declaring himself healthy and ready to go last week at winter fest here at Foxwoods casino, Dave Dombrowski may be Christian Vazquez’s Dean Smith.
Last year at this very moment, Christian Vazquez was set to open the Red Sox season as their starting catcher. With just 55 starts under his belt the rookie had earned the respect of his Manager,the front office and most importantly his staff . The Sox had Vazquez penciled in for 140 plus games, then lighting struck and the only lineup Vazquez was penciled into was Dr. James Andrews for Tommy John. Camp hadn’t even broke and this young man with a cannon for an arm and a work ethic like Varietk season was over, leaving the Sox scrambling for ideas as to what to do behind the dish.
The answer was rushing their 2011 first round draft pick Blake Swihart to the bigs. For all intended purposes he played well and really came on after the All Star Break. Batting .303 slapping 4 of his 5 round trips and 20 of his 31 RBI after the mid summer classic. But the glove didn’t match the smi-above average bat. The command of the game and respect of the staff that Vazquez has isn’t part of Sweat’s makeup (yea I just gave him that Nic-name, its my column I’ll do what I please). But lets digress; it’s not part of his makeup, not yet anyway – I do think it will come. The arm? You can’t even put them in the same paragraph never mind the same sentence.
Word on the street is Swihart has the job coming into camp. It’s his to lose. I think he will. The first strike tossed from behind home to second will give everyone in Fenway South pause, that first snap throw catching a sleeping vet off first bringing oooh’s and ahhh’s from the throng of snow birds in attendance will have the coaching staff wondering just how they can send this immense talent back to AAA, Will I be shocked if Vasquez starts the season down in Pawtucket? No. But I’ll be pissed off. I know Swihart has the better bat the higher slash line ceiling but I don’t care, not in this lineup. In this lineup I want the better catcher, I want the man behind the plat that gives opposing runners pause. I hope both these kids come to camp hungry and ready to prove themselves. I hope they both hit the cover off the ball. It will make Blake all the more tempting to teams in both leagues and the haul that much bigger for Dealer Dave.
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images by Getty