UPDATE: Jonathan Lucroy has been designated for assignment.
Before taking on the Mets in Queens on Wednesday, the Red Sox will be recalling right-hander Chris Mazza from the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket, according to The Athletic’s Chad Jennings and Ken Rosenthal. In order to make this happen, veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy will be removed from the Sox’ 30-man roster.
A somewhat surprising move considering the player taken off the roster, but on a team that needs plenty of pitching help at the moment, removing another catcher in Lucroy for a fresh arm in Mazza makes plenty of sense for the Red Sox.
Starting with Mazza, the 30-year-old right-hander was left off Boston’s Opening Day squad earlier this month, nearly seven months after he was claimed off waivers from the Mets back in December.
Throughout Summer Camp workouts at Fenway Park, Mazza looked like a potential candidate to open games for the Sox, but instead of including him on the Opening Day roster, the club opted for more unproven pitchers like Dylan Covey or Phillips Valdez instead.
Now, after joining the Sox in New York for this upcoming road trip, Mazza will get the chance to prove he belongs with his new team. He only has nine career major-league relief appearances under his belt, all of which came with the Mets last season.
As for Lucroy, the 34-year-old backstop made the Sox’ Opening Day roster as the club’s third catcher but only got into one game as a defensive replacement against Baltimore last Friday, and as Jennings mentions in the tweet above, never got an at-bat.
At the time he signed a minor-league deal with Boston back in February, it appeared as though Lucroy could legitimately contend with Kevin Plawecki for the Red Sox’ backup catcher spot behind Christian Vazquez.
Both Lucroy and Plawecki were impressive during the spring, and because of the 30-man rosters for the first two weeks of the season that were implemented as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Sox were able to carry all three backstops on their Opening Day squad.
But, as SoxProspects’ Ian Cundall notes, “It didn’t make much sense to carry three catchers when you can have one on the taxi squad, who doesn’t take up a roster spot. With the Red Sox pitching struggles, another arm is much more useful at this point.”
Former Brewers and Angels catcher Jett Bandy will now be the third catcher on the Sox’ taxi squad and will not take up a roster spot in doing so.
Following Wednesday’s moves, the Red Sox could have an open spot on their 40-man roster depending on what happens with Lucroy. Perhaps they could use that opening on someone like Tanner Houck?