Note: This story has been updated since its original posting to reflect Rich Hill being placed on the bereavement list.
Prior to Monday’s Patriots’ Day loss to the Twins, the Red Sox got some bad news on their roster as backup catcher Kevin Plawecki had to leave the park after testing positive for COVID. The breakout, it seems, does not stop there as two more players have been added to the COVID list. The team announced prior to Tuesday’s series opener against the Blue Jays that they have placed catcher Christian Vázquez and infielder Jonathan Araúz on the COVID list, with Rob Refsnyder and Tyler Danish being called up from Triple-A Worcester.
As of this writing, it’s not clear whether Vázquez or Araúz have tested positive or have symptoms and/or contact tracing concerns, the specifics of which could impact how long they remain off the field. In addition, as a reminder players on the COVID list do not count towards the 40-man roster, which is how Refsnyder can be called up. When the player he replaces comes back, he can be sent back to Triple-A without going through waivers. Danish was already on the 40-man roster.
This may not be the end of the roster moves today, either, because as things currently stand Connor Wong, who was called up to replace Plawecki on Monday, is the only catcher on the roster and only three position players are on the bench. According to beat reporters at Fenway, though, catcher Ronaldo Hernández is at Fenway and has apparently been promoted based on his Instagram stories. It was not initially announced how the Red Sox would make room for Hernández, but we have since learned that the team will be placing Rich Hill on the bereavement list, opening up an active roster spot for the catcher.
For now, this certainly leaves the Red Sox short handed behind the plate with each of their top two backstops on the COVID list for the time being. Both Wong and Hernández have intriguing power, especially considering their position, but also carry questions about their defensive abilities for the time being. Refsnyder, meanwhile, provides some outfield depth and will allow, at least in the short-term, Christian Arroyo to be more of a traditional backup infielder. (Ed. Note: Immediately after writing this I saw Tuesday’s lineup which features Arroyo in the outfield.) Danish gives the Red Sox another multi-inning relief option alongside Kutter Crawford and Garrett Whitlock in the midst of a long stretch of games without an off-day.