Jun 24, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski (40) looks to the dugout after being stolen on for the second time during the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Red Sox DFA catcher A.J. Pierzynski


Wednesday the Boston Red Sox designated veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski for assignment and called up prospect Christian Vazquez to catch in his place.

The 23-year old Vazquez was hitting .279 with a .336 on-base percentage for Triple-A Pawtucket this season. He is not the first young player the Red Sox have called up to gain experience in the majors, he is the fifth. They have also brought up Mookie Betts, Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Trending towards younger players and giving them experience gives the sense that the Red Sox are giving up on this season and moving into a rebuilding phase.

Manager John Farrell said that the Red Sox were not giving up on the 2014 season but were simply, “”turning the page in terms of investing in young players.” Vazquez will make his Major League debut Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox. He will bat in the ninth spot.

The 37-year old Pierzynski had been struggling this season, his first in Boston. Pierzynski was batting .254, well below his career average of .282. He’d played even worse within the last month hitting just .191.

Regarding Pierzynski, who has played for five teams over 17 years and has been known to have been a problem in the clubhouse at times, Farrell said,

“We thought we needed a left handed-hitting catcher. We felt that the need to bring a guy in on a short-term deal fit because of the guys coming through the system, someone who has led successful pitching staffs in the past, a number of the boxes checked off when we had to replace Salty (Jarrod Saltalamacchia). And based on the performance of us as a team, we’re not closing the book on 2014, but at the same time, we’re investing in those beyond this year. It’s important to note that where we are today is not pinning this on A.J. by any means. We felt like there was a player ready to step in that we wanted to get valuable time this year as we move forward and that’s Christian and that’s where the decision started today.”

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington also said that the move was in no way a reflection on Pierzynski. It was solely due to his lack of production.

“Nothing else happened with A.J. that we were surprised by,” Cherington said.

Pierzynski has not yet spoken out about his future plans at this time.

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