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Red Sox place Christian Vazquez on 60-day disabled list with right elbow sprain

The Red Sox have pulled the trigger on Christian Vazquez, placing him on the 60-day disabled list.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox have placed Christian Vazquez on the 60-day disabled list with what is being called a right elbow sprain, guaranteeing that their young catcher will miss not only Opening Day, but at the very least the early part of the season.

Vazquez' second opinion with Dr. James Andrews won't happen until Wednesday, but apparently what the Red Sox have seen is enough to convince them that Vazquez is going to be out for a good long while. The "elbow sprain" diagnosis sounds innocuous, but is probably more of a filler until Andrews has his say. Chances are that his opinon will simply determine whether Vazquez is headed for surgery, or just rehab.

If the former, we may well not see Vazquez back with the team in 2015. If the latter, the 60-day limit is not as hard and fast as it might seem, as the move will be backdated by a decent amount. That could leave Vazquez available sometime in mid-May, but it's optimistic at best to believe Vazquez will be available so soon.

The news comes immediately on the heels of a trade for Washington catcher Sandy Leon, whose arrival is likely a sign that the Red Sox are doing what they can to keep Blake Swihart in the minor leagues until they're certain he's ready. That will leave the catching duties up to Ryan Hanigan and Humberto Quintero to start the season, with Leon acting as the first line of defense against injury in early weeks/months.

The Red Sox managed to avoid any major spring injuries until the last couple weeks. But now that injury has come, it's hit hard. Vazquez may be a rookie catcher, and not a widely heralded prospect to boot. But the Red Sox have put a lot of stock in his defensive skills, essentially basing their run-prevention strategy around his glove behind the plate. The Red Sox rotation is largely going to have to stand on their own merits now. That's not an impossible task, but it's also not what the Sox were hoping to bet on back in December and January. It's going to be a nervous start to the 2015 season.