Christian Vazquez’s 2015 season is over before it began.
The Red Sox announced on Wednesday that the 24-year-old catcher will require Tommy John surgery on his injured right elbow. Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure on Thursday in Pensacola, Florida.
Vazquez was expected to be the Red Sox starting catcher this season, but hadn't caught since March 13 after experiencing soreness in his throwing elbow during Spring Training. Vazquez told reporters last Friday that an MRI taken “found something.” The catcher and team sought a second opinion from Andrews, visiting him on Wednesday.
During the team’s last-place 2014 season, Red Sox fans got a glimpse of Vazquez’s potential behind the plate. He threw out 15 of 29 would-be base stealers while committing just five errors in 375 total fielding chances across 54 games.
Regarded for his defensive prowess while moving up the Sox farm system, Vazquez wasn’t too shabby at the dish in 2014, hitting .240 with nine doubles, a home run and 20 RBIs while recording an OBP of .308.
Vazquez’s absence means catching duties will likely be handled by Ryan Hanigan and Sandy Leon early in the season. The Sox acquired Hanigan from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Will Middlebrooks in December. To add depth and experience at the position, the team also acquired Leon from the Washington Nationals on Monday – the same day Vazquez was placed on the 60-day DL. The injury to Vasquez could also mean that top catching prospect Blake Swihart finds his way to Fenway Park sooner rather than later.