Hanigan returns, Red Sox keep three catchers on roster


TORONTO -- The Red Sox wasted no time getting Ryan Hanigan back behind the plate and into the lineup Thursday. Hanigan was activated earlier in the day, and was set to catch Wade Miley in his first game back after missing almost two months with a broken knuckle on his right hand.

To make room for Hanigan's activation, the Sox sent young reliever Jonathan Aro back to Pawtucket.

That meant the Sox had three catchers on the 25-man roster for Thursday: Hanigan, Blake Swihart and Sandy Leon.

But manager John Farrell indicated that such an arrangement may not last for long.

"We don't anticipate staying with that alignment going forward,'' said Farrell. "With Shane Victorino soon to come back, there are a couple of things soon to take place.''

In fact, it's possible that the Sox could cut back to two catchers as early as Friday, when Victorino is set to rejoin the club following a brief rehab assignment in Portland and Pawtucket.

It seems likely that Swihart will be returned to Pawtucket when the Sox go back to just two catchers. Although the rookie has performed well and began hitting better a few weeks ago, the Sox don't want him sitting on the bench and playing twice or three times per week while Hanigan gets the majority of the playing time.

Leon has been weak offensively (.381 OPS), but has thrown out 53 percent of would-be base stealers and has worked extremely well with Clay Buchholz.

Leon is out of options and to get him to Pawtucket, the Red Sox would first have to expose him to waivers.

By keeping him in Boston for the time being and optioning Swihart back to Triple A where he can continue his development, the Sox could maintain control of both.

For the time being, Hanigan won't be asked to play more than two games in a row until he builds up some endurance.

With a broken knuckle on his right (throwing) hand, Hanigan will have to guard against it being exposed to foul tips. During his rehab assignment in Portland and Pawtucket, Hanigan worked on keeping the hand out of harm's way, behind his catching glove.

"One thing he did do was take a look at how Christian (Vazquez) sets up,'' said Farrell, "not behind the glove, but protected by the glove rather that outside his right knee. And I know that he's gained some comfort from a different place that he puts his throwing hand.

"After you break your hand, you're probably a little bit more open to making a change.''

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